Like A Flip Book


lonely-ghost-girl

I feel as if my life is so out of control right now. I’m kind of having a little panic attack as I do the bills.  I have no job. I mean it simply hit me that I am unemployed! My parents are aging and I am worried about that, as roles reverse and I feel the pressure. It almost feels as if my life is like a little “flip book” as all the years just flash before my eyes.

From riding in the back seat of my daddy’s car and watching the moon follow me, I remember falling asleep only to wake up as he carries me in the house, feeling safe and so content. And then all of a sudden, first dates and the ups and downs of falling in love for the first time and a couple more times after that. Of weddings and having babies, of miscarriages and parties and funerals and then more baby showers, a painful divorce and another chance and another wedding, in-between the pain of failure and the whirlwind of just living life and trying to survive with all the joys and heart aches that come with it. Never feeling that the good times lasted too long but looking back “now” and feeling that even the bad times were kind of the good old days.

I remember shopping with my daughter her freshman year of high school. We had a budget every year. My kids always got the first day of school outfit and some other new outfits, new shoes and a new backpack with school supplies. I guess it was so special for me because my dad always took me school shopping and it was this amazing tradition that I treasure more than I ever did when it was happening.

The year I remember most, my daughter and I were on a vacation with my childhood best friend. She was blessed with never needing a budget and her kids usually came out with a bag of something from each shop we went in. The girls had run ahead of us and when we walked in the store they were all already shopping. My friend’s daughters started handing their mom clothes they’d chosen, when  my daughter ran up to me with a jacket that made her eyes sparkle. I looked at the price tag and with a raised eyebrow said, “you know this one jacket is a third of your school clothes budget!” Without missing a beat she just put it back on the rack as my friend purchased more items for her daughters as they ran ahead to the next shop and my daughter happily followed.

Something kicked me deep in my heart, the way she didn’t argue or even mope. At that moment I felt richer than all the money I could ever need. It only took a second for me to grab that jacket and take out my credit card and decide that I’d just have to figure out how to stretch the budget  for that year. When I reached my daughter I handed her the bag and said, “this won’t count as part of your budget.” She burst into tears hugging me and said “Oh mama, thank you but it’s too much!” It was probably one of my best purchases I ever made. Later my stunned friend asked me, “How do you make a kid be so appreciative?” I knew that it was kind of a rhetorical question so I didn’t say what I wanted to, but the answer is  you don’t buy your kid everything they want so they appreciate the things they do get.”

Today my daughter buys her own clothes and lives her own life. Both my kids have little parts of me in them but they are mostly themselves. And I am happy they are strong and have their own personalities and are creating their own way. But at the same time I wonder where it all went? The time of buying clothes and setting curfews and driving them to this place or that place, well it sends me to a place where I feel the pages flipping by. In a way, I wonder where it all went. So fast? in my flip book of a life!

I remember my grandma telling me how in her seventies she still felt seventeen. Me too! Now as I look to my future I feel that flip book, remembering the box boy who called me Ma’am in my thirties! Or the woman at Ross asking me if I wanted the Senior Discount in my forties! I remember being size five! Where did it all go?! That little girl I once was, is just a ghost of me, but still deep down inside somewhere.

Like a flip book, I want to slow it all down, I want a do over! But then I realize that someday, these will be the good old days and that today is the oldest I have ever been and the youngest I will ever be again!

If I Let You In… Please Don’t Break Anything


..

terri-scott-and-i In San Mateo… in my front yard… I wonder if I never moved who I’d be today… ?

At a very early age, I learned how to put up walls. Probably because… when I was younger, I was always the “new kid.” My dad was up and coming. A Mattel Executive, right when they were introducing Barbie and Hot Wheels. He rode the wave  and then in the 70s he seemed to settle into a computer Company called CSC in El Segundo and remained there for several years as one of their Vice Presidents. When I was nine, we finally landed in a Southern CA Community called;  Palos Verdes Peninsula, where other up and coming daddies also brought their families.

Being a Mattel tester kid was fun. During our first move I met Terri. My first best friend, who ended up being the best thing about all of my dad’s transfers,  (& remained my best friend until she died a few years ago) admitted that she was jealous of me. She told me once, “Your dad went on all of these business trips and always brought you something back.” Little did she know, I was jealous of her. Her dad came home every night and she lived in the same town all of her life.

palos-verdes-peninsulaPalos Verdes Peninsula

 

Maybe it takes a kid with a better backbone to go to four elementary schools before nine, but I never really mastered the art of making friends back then, basically it was just plain awkward, coming in the middle of each school year. And kids can reeeally be mean. In turn, I tried to teach my kids to seek out the underdogs and welcome them into their group. Kids learn how to be bullies at an early age and I feel that if more parents would take the initiative and teach their kids to be more aware of the friendless kids, I think they’d ALL have a head start on becoming amazing adults.

The thing that saved me is that I loved to read and write and I always had Terri.We bought funny stationery and sealing wax and wrote to each other often. And where ever I went, I knew I had a best friend “somewhere.” Who knows if I’d remained across the street, if we’d have stayed best friends or even traveled in the same crowd. But there was something magical for both of us…  To her, I was the girl across the street that traveled all over and for me…  well, she didn’t even know. She just made me not feel so alone in those times of being the new kid and arriving after everyone had already made their friends for that school year.

Looking back as an adult, I see that every circumstance and experience made me into who I am today. And I am grateful for them. But back then it just seemed to suck. I think that is why I only need a few good friends now. And perhaps why I love my blog friends so much. It is a safe place and in my neighborhood here, I rarely have run into a bully. Most show up as the kind of friends I wish I could have found in my elementary school days. And for a magical moment it is just you and me. When I read yours and you read mine.

vallonVallon Drive… Street I grew up on since Junior High…

Today, I wonder who I’d be if I’d always lived across the street from Terri, and we never moved. I wonder if my kids would be the same kids, or if I might have had a totally different life. All I know is that  I over think things. I scrutinize the whys and try to figure out what makes others tick. I know now that as a kid, when I’d feel as if I wanted to disappear, I really wanted to be found. Though, over the years,  where I used to care, I have learned to not trust that many people. I appreciate people who are honest, those who keep their word, are not judgmental and especially are not bullies. When I was younger, I used to wonder how the bullies would turn out. As an adult, I’ve realized that a lot of people just end up being mean adults. Though a few have surprised me and had the depth to change and we have become good friends. I think that knowing where people came from helps and I don’t think that I could ever not accept an apology.

Over the years, I’ve learned to embrace the adult perspective and move past my insecurities. And I am still a work in progress. An “I LOVE LUCY” episode comes to mind where Lucy thinks that everyone has forgotten her birthday, while in reality Ricky and her friends are waiting at a surprise party for her as she goes out and joins “Friends of The Friendless.” As adults we see the irony in the humor of LUCY. And I think I have grown from that little awkward NEW KID into embracing my friendships…

But…. If I do let you in, please don’t break anything.

broken-heart

Shampoo, Rinse, Repeat


 

shower-spraying

I can’t explain it but the older I get… the more I notice things. I need room in my head for mundane chatter. Whether it is my iPod as I walk or my mp3 when I drive, or the background noise of the TV, to put me to sleep. I am not sure what it is but I don’t like silence in my daily life.  It’s not that I need to be around a lot of people. (I am around people all day at work.)  Actually, I like being alone quite a lot, and enjoy my own company. It is more like the need to have my mind occupied so I don’t have a lot of time to be overwhelmed by my own thoughts of what I need to do or worry about things that I really have no control over. And I’m afraid, it is a little crazy making.

jogger-with-ipod

And yet, I have discovered why. I have so many thoughts in my head, I think that my head might burst, if I just settled down to re-live every memory or think every thought. My boss laughs at me sometimes, because we share an office and at times the filter gets jarred and I just ramble on about everything, to a point where I am sure she gets pretty dizzy. She has a smiling raised eyebrow look that is a gracious way of helping me realize I need to shut up! (And I am smiling as I write that.)  Maybe because our office is one of those quiet places that I have to stop and think,  which is a good thing, because in that case I can focus on my tasks at work and get more work done!

computer-screen-frustration

I guess besides my office, there are two places that I must have complete silence, one is my choice and one is because I have not invested in the technology that can get wet yet. The first one is at my computer, while I write. I can’t have background noise and in fact, it is the time that I utilize all that clutter in my brain to write about all those thoughts in my head!

The other place is in my shower. Maybe it is because it is the place where I have closed my eyes leaned back and stood beneath the same water, and had to be alone with all those thoughts. From the time I was nine or ten, I took showers and the ritual of washing my hair and planning my day and closing my eyes and shampooing, rinse and repeating  has always been the same. Day after day, year after day, My shampoos have changed along with my body, growing taller, growing up, pregnant, losing weight, gaining weight, tanned in the summer, white in the winter. Excited for the day, planning what came next, crying and praying, and even writing in my head sometimes. A place where I couldn’t get away from me. A place sometimes where God would find me and or I would find Him, where my mind could stop and really listen and where my heart could catch up.

lemon-go-lightly-shampooherbal-essence

 

My shampoos have changed over the years, my body has changed, my hair has changed. But when I am in that shower I still can find that ten-year old, or remember that 30-year-old. I think of best friends gone now, lovers lost, family passed and it is all overwhelming. I think of vacations planned for and just a memory now and feel the water as I close my eyes and plan my day and pray.

paul-mitchell-shampoo

Shampoo Rinse Repeat…

I stand in the shower remembering

like reading a journal backwards

Seems like I’ve stood beneath this same water

almost  a million days before

Shampoo, rinse repeat, and then condition

as I continued to plan my days

The warm water running over me

as I close my eyes and pray.

d reed

The Importance of This One Question in All of Our Lives


peaceful-forest

Recently, I have been on this journey of self discovery. I kind of wish that I’d done it a lot sooner. It is rather frustrating to have discovered this simple key that helps me understand others more and never took the time to  apply it to myself. I think I was just so busy with being busy that I’ve only just muddled through being aware of things when it comes to me.

But the one huge thing that I’ve discovered and has become crystal clear to me now, is…. how we all start out as kids. And the key for me has always been the word… HOW.

mirror-broken

I know when I am aware of someone’s difficult past, there is a degree of forgiveness and grace that I automatically allow. It is so automatic that I hardly even think of it any longer. But somehow I forgot to allow myself the same grace. And that has been a pretty big revelation as I wander back picking up the pieces where I left off as a kid and who I was and why I am who I am today.

I think that I think too much and it drives me nuts. It is funny how some of us are wound. I know that in my life, letting go of the excessive thoughts could have set me freer. Wondering what others were thinking, making up in my head what they were thinking…etc.  In my journey, I  realized that I set different expectations for people in my life. There are some, where I see their faults but overlook them for the sake of our relationship and can live happily that way. Others where I notice them, but if it doesn’t effect me in my head (and who decides that?!) I can co-exist on some level that is annoying but doesn’t blow my day away because I have learned to distance myself emotionally. And then there are those poor unfortunate souls that  don’t have any grace at all. I am constantly aware of every last sin and call them on each one. WHY?! Maybe because they matter to me. What they think of me, what I think of them. They are the ones that make a difference in my life.

I know that I want to care less about everything, in the way that it effects me negatively. Though I know that I will always over think some things, but  as I understand me more, it won’t matter as much. Like the guy who cuts you off in traffic or the rude clerk in a store, have nothing to do with “me” and more about who they are… If I could only give the people actually in my life the same grace, my brain could relax a little more.

I think the thing that really prompted me to go back on this journey is this question that really caught me off guard…..

And if I asked you to name all the things that you love, how long would it take for you to name yourself?

What about you? Hopefully you haven’t lived fifty years and just now realize the importance of the answer to this question.

mirror-old-and-young

 

 

Part One – From The Mother Of The Bride’s Perspective


This is going to be a two-part thank you. Because I know I'd lose your    interest if I tried to fit this all in one post. And because when I     began blogging, I once read that you lose your readers if you go too far past 700 words. But so many have asked about the wedding I wanted to try to share with you and to thank everyone for everything!

Brookie's first headshotBrookie’s first headshot

When I was a young mom, I was invited to a bridal shower that my friend was throwing for her  soon to be daughter in law. I sold my paintings and cards in her Bible Book Store and we became good friends. I remember her telling us all a story at the shower; she said “When the doctors placed my new baby boy in my arms, I began to pray for his wife.” And she continued,  “every year I continued to pray for you, and now here you sit.” She said to her daughter in-law to be. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room that day. And it stuck with me for all of these years.

This woman taught me many things in our friendship and that day she taught me how to pray for my kids. So when the nurse placed my new little baby girl in my arms a few years later, I prayed for her husband to be. Not many boys had come and gone before him. But no one that she brought home, ever felt like Chase did. From the moment I met him. I knew he was the one I’d been praying for all those years.

God is so good. He tends to answer me in detail. I rarely doubt that it is just a coincidence anymore. He probably does that for me (answers me in detail) because I am a doubter. Though there is no doubt that Chase is that little boy and then man who I’d been praying for. I prayed for a man who would love my baby, and have integrity and be honorable and that he would love God and my daughter with an everlasting kind of love. That he would be funny and patient and slow to anger. He is every one of those things and more. And when I listened to their vows this weekend, it was good.

Brooke and Chase Engaged

The days leading up to the wedding since they were engaged have felt like a whirlwind. Though we had 18 months to plan, we were on a tight budget & Brooke & Chase paid for a lot themselves, we were blessed with everyone that contributed generously, their own friends from the industry, family and life long friends all were so amazing.

And from the very beginning my boss & sweet friend, rolled up her sleeves & out of the blue would nudge me to create action plans for the shower and wedding and the day after wedding brunch, creating lists & sharing menus for the shower & then brunch that I was in charge of. Not to mention generously gifting them with their honeymoon! (she’d kill me if I posted  her pic – so just imagine an Angel!)       angel

jody and usAuntie Jodyflower crownBrookie and her pre wedding flower after a day of flower shopping with Jody

My bff Jody, “Auntie” to Brooke,partnered hosting  the shower with me at her house,  (because she lives near where Brooke lives and I live 4 hours away). She made all of the flowers, both at her shower & the wedding! Gifting it all!  Though now retired, she opened up her shop again (metaphorically speaking) & created everything! from the the corsages, bountonniers, flower girl & bridal party & bride’s bouquet & head wreaths, all the center piece garlands & hoop, working to the very last-minute. And her husband allowing all of it, driving the drive to and from a very destionationy destination spot! Brooke had a vision in her head and they worked together to create it like magic.

 

Brookie and DanielleThe other Ring Bearer and maker of the wedding gown! Her sweet cuz and nephew! (Ring Bearer #2!)more changescousin lovethe making of the bridal gowndanielle helpingBrookie in her first role as flower girl - a few more followed after that!

Cousins (sisters and besties) Forever!

And her girls were Amazing! Her cousin (Matron of Honor) Danielle, made her dress! I mean she MADE her wedding dress! Seriously! When they were little they spent many hours in my mom’s sewing room as Grandma would set them free to snip and sew and create their own creations. It was so sweet watching an actual wedding gown being born as they worked tirelessly together, Danielle trying to decode the vision in her cousin’s head! As they changed the pattern several times to create the perfect dress. I watched as she patiently re-created it to perfection! Patient and loving and generous and oh my her husband? Well he has been dubbed “FAVORITE Cousin -in law!  To be continued in part two.

Bestiescrafters oh excuse me artists!silly girls Wedding dress shopping

And Rachel! Who could have ever imagined a better Maid of Honor? But like I said…            (I didn’t know there was going to be a Part Two when I started this. But just had to go back up and re-title this post to Part One!)

And Part Two is going to have

 

typed to be continued

I Will Always Remember You


 

 

daddy playing the guitar to me

I am blessed to have the dads in my life that I do. We celebrated them today. And I am so grateful for them both. Having said that, I am not sure why this year was especially tough for me. It started out looking for cards. Funny because as a greeting card creator, I usually have taken on that task myself. But my daughter is getting married next Saturday!! And my plate is pretty full. Though I did manage to throw a little BBQ  in honor of our dads, I just couldn’t shake the one that was missing.

You see my dad died at 51 jogging around the block. It is funny to think that he was younger than I am now. Just a few weeks after Father’s Day thirty-four years ago. You would think that the missing him would subside. But it never does. If I think about it long enough, I usually can fall to pieces, at least inside. Like looking for cards. I found some pretty good ones this year. But I had to put back the ones about carrying me and putting band aids on my knee and being there to watch me grow up as I silently whispered…”Daddy I haven’t forgotten you, thank you.”

I remember the long talks and the Saturday drives, You being the one to take me school clothes shopping every year and going to the top floor of your office building so you could make Snoopy Calendars for me and my friends. And you telling me that someday all the disk drives that filled that floor would someday, maybe even in my lifetime, fit on one desk and maybe even in my hand! Oh how I wish you could see just how much your predictions all came to pass.

I remember loving to make you laugh and wanting to show you first when I got an A or learned something new. I remember you loved to read my poems and said you thought I had something special. Sometimes I wonder what you would think of me and I have a million things I want to tell you and a million more I want to ask. All I can say is thank you for being there when I needed you most, whether to just sit there with me through a broken heart,  telling me that I hadn’t even met anyone who deserved me yet, but I would.  And being so happy for me when I was happy again.

You were such a great grandpa for such a short time. But you showered your new grandson with such love. And I have a feeling that you hand picked my baby girl for me from up there in heaven. As I looked through all the pictures to go back and find ones of us. I watched as a whole lifetime passed me by. You missed so much. It isn’t fair…. that the good ones die too young.

Happy Father’s Day Daddy. I will always remember you.

daddy playing the guitar to me

My Dad singing … “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should.” (For those born after the sixties, it was a commercial jingle. He was always a funny guy. The hole still is raw if I stay there too long. Today,  I just had to wander back. I am sure there are many that stood in front of the cards this year and remembered too… That the good die young.

“Funny How Things Change”


 

marineland

I grew up in Palos Verdes, a small town South of Los Angeles. My bedroom window overlooked Marineland and the ocean. (Now a resort – so sad it is no longer there!) When I was younger I was a Mattel toy tester kid. Not officially, but my dad would bring home random tester toys for me. He was a Marketing VP in Sales there, in El Segundo. I wish I still had some of those toys, I bet they’d be worth gold now.

shrinking violet Shrinking Violet – one of my Tester Toys!

We were not rich, but I was blessed. My dad grew up with a single mom and they struggled. A lot. He had to sell magazines to buy his school shoes. I know that my dad worked hard to climb up the ladder. Always making it to Vice President in all his jobs. Transferring us all over the country as he climbed.

Street I grew up onvallon

My friend Terri once told me that she’d been jealous of me  when we were growing up. I had the dad who went on business trips and came home with surprises for me, while her dad was a Cal-Trans guy who stayed home. I kind of thought it might have been nice to have a dad that was home more. I guess everything is relative. “I used to get lost in your house, I thought it was so big.” she’d told me once. (It really wasn’t that big.) “Funny how things change.” she said.

daddy

My dad and me in the living room of the house we rented across the street from Terri’s in San Mateo. So funny, he doesn’t look real happy about having his picture taken.

My best friend was four when we met in San Mateo where we were renting a house across the street from hers. A few years later, we moved. And moved, and moved, until we settled in Palos Verdes.  Things got given away or lost in our moves, hence why I don’t have my first Barbie, or most of the tester toys any longer. Terri had all her firsts. She lived in the same house she always did until she got married and moved out. Her mom saved everything. Though Terri doesn’t have them any longer. She died last summer.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that comment, she made so many years ago. “Funny how things change.” It kind of hurt. She was referring to her wealth. She’d made some good choices along the way. I did not. She worked hard and completed college. I went, I still have my units all in a nice little bundle. I know, because I checked a few years ago. (Imagine they still have my records all of these years later!) She became an Interior Designer and was very talented. She married a guy that  ended up grandfathering into his dad’s business and making it very successful. In the end, they probably had more money than both of our parents put together. And though it makes me a little sad to say it, I know that was important to her.

Terri fought cancer for the last twenty years. Not only that, she fought stage four cancer! Having money has its perks, you can design your own medical team as well as try alternatives and it may keep you alive longer than most. And that was truly a blessing. But the comment; “Funny how things change.” Always bothered me. What did she mean by that? I know exactly what she meant. She had a lot of money and I didn’t. I have to admit that I was surprised that she’d always harbored that competitive bone, and hadn’t realized it until she’d made that comment.

I didn’t not have money. I just didn’t have as much as she did. Between her right choices and hard work, and a little dumb luck, marrying a guy that would someday inherit a business that would be very successful, she never wanted nor worried about paying a bill in her adult life, like I have. Don’t get me wrong. I am blessed. I was just never motivated to need more. Maybe because I was a little privileged as a kid, and stupidly, a little embarrassed by it. Maybe the ones who feel they don’t have a lot at an early age seek for more later. I just know that Terri died with a closet full of clothes with price tags still on them and a drawer full of jewelry with some pieces, equaling a whole year of my salary. That being said, she was also one of the most generous people I know.

Losing my best friend and reflecting on our friendship of over a half a century has made me realize what is important and what is not.  That material things really are just so unimportant. But then, She probably knows that now.

I miss her terribly. I am glad that she is not suffering anymore. Her sister gave me one of her leather jackets. Though a material thing of hers, it makes me feel closer to her when I wear it. Losing Terri has taught me one of the most valuable lessons of my life. Even if that windfall never comes for me. I don’t need fancy cars, or big houses, I am happy to just be able to pay my bills on time.  And I know that I am blessed. I have a husband that loves me in spite of myself. I have amazing kids and a great family and wonderful friends. And now I even have a job I like going to and a boss I love!

I will always miss Terri. But I am glad she is not suffering anymore. I know now that she is in a place that holds the kind of joy she was always seeking from her “things” here on this earth. She is free from pain and has a new body. I think a lot about her everyday. She has left a gaping hole in my life. I miss the places I would find her, an early morning email waiting for me to open,  a phone call on the way home from work, summer get aways, the way she loved my daughter so much, her quirky  sense of humor,  and laughing at the dumbest things. Sharing things you can only tell your best friend without being judged. (Well probably judged, but that’s okay. Smile.)  I guess now, I just think a lot more about what is important and what is not. And you know she was right It really is Funny how things change.

01p091 One more of me and my dad

Inside My Memory


drinks

City lights and jazz in the air

the smell of smoke in my hair,

the first scent of a lit cigarette

are memories I just can’t forget.

city view with bridge

Coppertone still fills my head

reminds me of things you said.

beach chairs

A time of day still makes me smile,

our hearts store them like a file.

Forgotten like a vapor’s mist

don’t mean that they don’t exist.

smoke

 A song or smell has a knack

of snapping us so quickly back,

at any given time you see

I can find you in my memories.

Ah, yes the smell of smoke in my hair

I close my eyes and find you there.

floating face

Keri London

2011©

Side Note* Keri London is my character’s name on my blog: http://kerisjournal.wordpress.com and this poem reflects that work. I am currently STUCK. Have finished the bones of that book and need to go back and edit so I can send it to a real editor and kick my butt into getting motivated again. I let life, work and being “stuck” get in my way. What I am afraid of is… is that I know editing means pretty much rewriting the whole thing! So I write these poems telling myself I am going to use them in my book… by the time I am ready to submit anything, I will probably have enough poems for a book all of it’s own! LOL. Thanks for reading and for my loyal readers who read both… you know I love ya!

xoxo

di/aka keri

Dear Terri


terri, scott and i

We met when we were four years old and from that moment on we were a part of each other’s lives. It all started with a moving box that our new frigidaire came in. Her sister was two years older, and my dad loved to describe the memory… They knocked at the door, eyeing the big old empty box in our front yard and asked, “You got any kids?”

We quickly became buddies and she even shared the little boy next door to me without a problem. We caught frogs in coffee cans, shared the first day of school a few times together, played barbies and learned how to ride two wheelers and stayed out till the street lights came on. I will always treasure those memories those few years we got to live across the street from each other.

When I was growing up, I moved a lot due to my dad’s job. It’s not that easy always having to be the new kid but it’s really not easy being the new kid four times in the middle of a school year when you are in elementary school. I made friends, but there were times when I felt left out or was tired of always being dubbed the “new kid” and just knowing I had Terri was a kind of redeeming grace that carried me through those times.

Through the years we’ve probably written each other a million letters and shared more with each other than someone in our daily lives. There is just something about being able to talk it out in a letter that creates a deeper kind of conversation and a different trust than with someone sitting across the table from you. We’d both find stationey and sealing wax for the occassion and then later, emailed daily for years and years and years!

There was just something about knowing that though she was a thousand of miles away at times, she was also just a letter or a phone call away always. We were in each other’s weddings, had our babies around the same time and emailed each other every single day for years and years. We vacationed with our kids and visited each other as often as our lives permitted. She was my bff.

sealing wax

We had an inside joke about emailing each other…. When we were little, we used to look across the street to see if each other’s garage doors were opened. We knew then that it was okay to knock at each other’s doors and that everyone was up. (No one shut their garage doors back in those days unless they weren’t home or not up yet.) So when we would see an email from each other, we would refer to it as… “I was so glad to come on and see that your garage door was already up!” I have missed that opened garage door for a while now. It has been a funny feeling to want to tell her something and know it will never be opened again.

running through the field2

Today she has been released from this life, from her body, from all the hurts and disappointments this life has held for her to go and celebrate her life and be with our Lord. She lived a wonderful life, had so many people in it that she loved and loved her back. Even in the last two decades of illnesses she managed to weave around it all and embrace life with a passion and energy that few who are gifted with good health, ever manage. We may be missing her but she is in a better place.

I have no doubt that she is enjoying the party being thrown for her right now and will perhaps be in charge of some of the future parties up there in the future! (She always threw a great party!) And I have no doubt that she is preparing amazing places for us all who believe in that better place and in the Lord who has ALREADY embraced her!! Perhaps someday, I will get to live next door to her again! But for today… I am just going to take the time to really miss my very first bff. In these last few months, I have adjusted to the fact that our garage doors will never be opened again, but today it takes my breath away. I guess I always believed in another miracle. God gave her many in her lifetime. I know now the miracle is happening on the other side.

“In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to perpare a place for you. John 14:2

clouds of joy

Still The One


friends two little girls with braids

“Love doesn’t keep track of wrong doings.”

It took me over a half a lifetime to understand what that one piece of wisdom that God  has tucked in HIS WORD over and over again, really means. I’m not sure  why it took me so long to truly understand just how simple this message was. For years, it seems as if I’ve been angry at something or someone. My dad used to say that I had a Forest going, with all of the leaves I turned over. I wasn’t always like that. I was a happy little girl. For the most part. But people hurt me and I let it get to me.

peaceful forest

A few years ago, I had a falling out with my childhood Best friend. We’d lasted for over a half a century without so much as a cross exchange. Well, at least on my part. She was the “alpha” in our relationship and pretty sharped tongued at times, and said it like it was. I’d accepted that part of her personality and though she hurt my feelings at times, I’d dealt with it. And then in one stupid afternoon, I used my words to retaliate and let her know that it wasn’t okay. It wasn’t that they were fighting words, or even that they ended our visit on  the spot. It was just that I’d had it and I stood up to her for the first time and it surprised us both and for the most part, changed  the future of our friendship. I am not saying that it is not good to be honest with your feelings, nor to stand up for yourself when the occasion calls. I am just saying that for me, it was not worth it. And it kind of changed the dynamics of a life long friendship. Though we’ve shared a thousand phone calls and texts and emails, and have confided and laughed and cried and laughed again since that last time, I hadn’t been back for a visit since that fateful confrontation. Until…  this last weekend, my daughter and I went to visit her. And she was still the one who I walked to kindergarten with, and failed my driver’s license test in front of… TWICE. She was still the one who was in both of my weddings and I in hers. She was still the one who let me drag her around as I searched for the perfect “first dance” song. She was still the one who ironed my wedding dress twice! We were even both pregnant with our daughters at the same time. She is two months older than me and her daughter is two months older than Brooke! And she is still the one who invested in my daughter’s dream, helping her pay for her first year of school.  She is still the one who my dad sent for when I went through a bad break up, and still the one who was my friend when I sometimes felt that I had no one else. And she was the first one I called when my dad died. She is still the one who has beat this damn cancer over and over again for the last twenty years. We’d planned a visit for her birthday this year, but then she canceled saying that her treatments were taking a toll on her and we should wait until later. But her sister (also my dear friend) called and said not to wait. So my sweet daughter piled in the car with me and we took that six-hour round trip laughing and crying both ways. door ajar The house was still the house she’d designed with loving care. The scent of her home still enveloped us as we walked through her door that I hadn’t walked through for a few years. And there she was. They’d gotten her a hospital bed. We covered her with the blanket we brought her for her birthday. She was able to get up and eat some lunch. I fed her soup. The next day she went on hospice. On the way home, my daughter begged me to get a mammogram. I got one the next day. I guess I am sharing this because I have learned that we don’t always have to make it about us. We don’t always have to be so offended. I mean after all, it worked for over fifty years the way it was. I do have regrets. I wish that I’d just “let it go” because we were best friends forever, we wrote to each other on stationery we picked out especially for the other  and used sealing wax to make it even more special.

sealing wax

Our friendship was one of the greats, the way we loved each other, and the history we shared would be hard to duplicate. But I still regret that one month where we didn’t know what to do so we did nothing. Last night, I read all of our emails since 2007 And you know what? God really has it right…. “Love doesn’t even notice when it’s done wrong.” 1 Corinthian 13:5

friends crying hugging

I’ve Always Remembered


When I started my blog I presented a question in my ABOUT section asking; “How old do you feel right now?” I suppose that I still don’t feel as if I am in my fifties, but slowly I have finally felt like a grown up. It took quite a while, but I’m not a kid in my head any longer. I do feel that I have experienced enough of life to contribute wisdom and a resource of memories to draw from to offer some kind of worthy advice and to have valid opinions about things that come up in life.

I think that because I’ve had such a clear memory from so far back, it has always been hard to feel a certain age. When I was a very small baby, I remember lying in my grandma’s bedroom by the window in a crib that had a raised mattress, the kind that you put a baby that can’t stand up yet in. It still blows me away that the memory is so clear. And then I remember standing up in what they called a bunting in a crib in my own bedroom. I remember getting potty trained, and I remember when my Aunt had to change my diapers and how mortified I was, or as mortified as a two-year old might feel!

I remember sitting on the counter baking with my mom, I remember going to Sunday school when I was in pre-school. I remember getting very sick and having to go to the hospital for a long time because of some infection called nephritis that attacked my kidneys and by the time I got out, all my friends had their training wheels off of their bikes! And my grandpa teaching me how to ride a two-wheeler!

I remember favorite teachers and mean teachers, I remember conversations with friends, I remember Christmases and birthdays, I remember getting up on Saturdays and watching cartoons and then going out and playing all day until the street lights came on. I remember sledding in the winter and coming home and watching The Wizard Of Oz. I remember digging a hole with some boys in the neighborhood one summer and making a fort we could actually stand up in! I remember planning neighborhood clubs and carnivals. I remember slumber parties and spending the night at friends and falling in love with boys.

I can stand in the shower now and a million memories can run through my head, weaving me into who I am today. I guess my biggest point is that now that we are adults, with kids in our lives, what kind of memories are we making for them? I tried to make memories for my kids and now my grandkids. I hope more good than bad. Some children may remember like me. Some of them may not remember a lot but it makes you realize how important making memories are. Whether it is just the experience you are sharing at the time, or the ones that they will carry with them for a lifetime.

How far back can you remember? I’d love to hear about your memories!

I Remember

friends two little girls with braids

I remember the smell of fresh cut grass, and watching cartoons at the crack of dawn

I remember our dad’s hanging out in the garage, after they’d cut their lawns

I remember hopscotch and roller skates, and running home when the street lights flickered

I remember slumber parties, favorite teachers, and the mean one that used to snicker

I recall getting sick and a summer lost, and I also remember getting well

I remember talks with my dad, and the things he’d give me, to share for show and tell

It seems like a lifetime ago, though my memories are still very clear

Some I wish I could forget, and some will always be quite dear

Sometimes I long for those remembered days, when it all just seemed so carefree

And yet I’ve learned that even today, will someday be tomorrow’s memories.

Diane Reed 2015

Chris Pickens, Carrier Of God’s Word


 Bible (2)

CHRIS PICKENS

His words are stored inside our hearts,

His life has been a work of art.

He’s planted seeds and grown new vines,

And he’s done God’s work all this time.

His eyes reach out and touch my soul,

his body is no longer whole,

this disease has come to take control,

to snuff the flame and take it’s toll.

But, life still lives inside of him,

the light dances, it won’t grow dim!

He still has lessons we must learn.

The fire continues still, to burn!

His mind is wise and he is there,

and hosts a heart, we’ve found so rare.

the numbers climb of those he’s touched,

the ones he’s taught, the ones he’s loved.

We can’t repay all that he’s done,

though if you are one of the ones,

and you are here now reading this,

Please reach out and help our friend Chris.

Diane Reed 2015

When I first met Chris, he had a Bible in his hands and that was always his trademark. He was and has always been the carrier of God’s word. Planting seeds and reaching out to anyone he felt led to approach. I am glad he felt led to our little store, because he changed things up in our lives as soon as he walked through the door!

I have said time and time before that I will never believe that pain and suffering and illness come from God! Or that bad things happen to punish us. I truly believe that God is not sitting up there choosing who to inflict with what. We live in a fallen world and that is just part of the deal. People suffer and die. They have financial successes and failures. Sure, some have brought on their own form of suffering through bad life or business choices or even health choices. But things like babies dying and ALS and meaningless accidents just don’t make sense and probably never will. Though I believe God allows opportunity in every instance and I have known people who have used their pain for God’s glory and Chris IS one of them!!

I will never forget sitting in a pre-marital counseling class when I was 21 with my on the fence non-believing husband to be. Our pastor at the time, Wayne Frase, shared with us something that even I never knew… that his baby son had died earlier in his own marriage. He was sharing the story to teach us that sometimes heart wrenching, life changing events that can come up in marriage, can either break it or make it stronger, and in that moment, I KNOW that a seed was planted in my soon to be first husband’s heart that would later lead to his own decision to accept Jesus as his Savior. At the time though, he was so confused at how this Godly man kept his faith, and yet very intrigued by his faith in God. Later, when my dad who we ALL loved died suddenly of a heart attack, my husband finally made the choice to believe after watching my mom’s strength through losing my dad and all the other little seeds that were planted along the way. Seeds like Chris has planted all throughout his lifetime!

I guess what I am trying to say is bad things happen to good people daily and it is how they handle them that can be used for God’s glory. And that life is not fair. And the formula has never been that bad things only happen to bad people and good things only happen to good people. If that were the case, Chris Pickens would be living on top of a hill in a mansion without infliction! But the fact is that he’s not. He is in need of our support. I have written about my friend before.  (Through Papered Windows) https://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/through-the-paper-windows/

But as this horrible disease progresses, my heart was pricked to share again.

One of my best friends, Michele, (Chris’s wife) has been her husband’s caregiver now for about 70 hours a week or more. Chris is totally paralyzed. He can no longer talk and with the occasional flick of one wrist, he is totally dependent. I have never seen Michele complain and she is always smiling. She is now in desperate need of funds to be able to hire capable caregivers to take care of her loving husband and take some of the load off of her. Another friend has set up a fund-raising site for him.

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/caring-for-chris/288756 

Also Michele sells Shaklee. We all use cleaning products and need vitamins along with so many other things I never knew they sold that I use everyday!! Please take a look at the millions of things that she sells (on the handy link below) and instead of going to the store,why not support Michele and become a regular customer?! (she is even offering free shipping!) It doesn’t matter where you live within the United States. Why not just decide to order everything you would have gone and bought at a store, through her? And the products truly are so much better than any you might find on the shelves AND…. reasonably priced! If we all did it, we could turn their lives around financially by just supporting their business! Please click on the site below for information there! http://www.healthysteps.myshaklee.com

Michele Pickens

LifeQuest Health

Natural Products Supplier and Nutrition Consultant
714.536.6555 Cell 805.423.2064

lifequesthealth@aol.com

Improving the lives of everyone we touch

If you know Chris and Michele, you have probably read this all the way through because they have touched your life. I remember our friendship when Chris was the one who approached us, invited us to church and embraced our family. Even when they had to move back to Southern California to be closer to family and doctors, I’d hear stories about how he’d take his little scooter to town and witness to many, many people who came to the Lord just by Chris being Chris and sharing God’s Word.

The last time I visited, Chris could no longer take those rides to town and was in a wheel chair full time, by then, but those eyes and that heart still were strong. He is in there, still believing and loving God.  If he has touched your life or if you don’t know him and his story has just touched you… Please pray for them and then if you will,  reach out to him (them) in any way that you possibly can and thank you!!!! And along with just clicking LIKE (which I always appreciate!) How about stopping a minute and looking at Michele’s Shaklee site and perhaps sharing this post on your facebook page or send the link on email to your praying friends and any other site of theirs that you think might help!

And again…

THANK YOU!!!!!

micheld and chris

Chris and Michele before ALS hit hard

Black Velvet Saddle Shoes


 

There must be something about the date; December 4th. It is a day of new beginnings for me. Twenty-one years ago today, my life began again the day that I married for a second time. I’d left a fourteen year marriage a few years earlier, devastated. When I stood up there with my childhood Pastor and my brand new beautiful husband, I’d had high hopes. And when I repeated those vows about… for better or worse and in sickness and in health, well… I reeeeally meant them! I think in a way, the last part of that little girl in me who believed in magic died on the day I walked out the door with my two young kids in tow.

Even though I wanted to believe, and said I did when I took those vows for the second time, I think I kind of felt like a fraud. I know that I didn’t believe that I was married with the same kind of childlike faith I’d had that first time around. The walls were tall and my heart was broken. And I came with a ready-made family. I really am not sure what my poor husband was even thinking! Or… what he saw in me. Even after almost two years of getting to really know us as a package deal before we got married, he said “I DO” and so did I. That day, though skeptical of the whole “Forever” thing. I had more hope, than I’d had in a long time.

Since then, we’ve had quite a journey. Together, we’ve been successful and way UP on top and then slammed to the bottom financially. We’ve dealt with deaths and births, illnesses and healings and some pretty catastrophic, life shaking times but we’ve stayed strong. Mostly because my husband is a man of faith and not loving me as he says is… “NOT an option.” And though sometimes in the fit of a fight, that is rather annoying. In the end… it is all I ever wanted. Someone who loves me unconditionally, flaws, walls and all.

It is all rather ironic because today is pretty metaphoric for me. As I close an old door on an old job that consumed a full decade of my life, I open a new door to a new job on the very same day in which I opened a new door to a new life twenty-one years ago. And though I know that I already wrote my “Anniversary” post. I woke up early today and couldn’t go back to sleep and so I got up and discovered a blog full of sweet congrats and well wishes from my consistently wonderful and supportive readers! (Thank you!) And I also remembered that this is the first day of my new job. Something that I haven’t said for over a decade! And I must say that I kind of feel like a kid on her first day of school!

For the first time in a long time, I have hope again. I remember when I was a little girl, maybe first grade, it was my first day of school. My friends and I walked to school in our brand new black velvet saddle shoes. (The kind that you had to brush off if someone stepped on them.) Funny, how I have to go sooo far back in my memory to feel that new feeling of hope again, but I’ve begun to understand that sometimes, you have to go as far back as you need to, in order to find the pieces of yourself that you left along the way, so that you can scale the walls and  truly begin to find a way to believe again, just like that young girl once did all those years ago, as she walked to school in her black velvet saddle shoes.

2edd18ca37acadc7e0d754d8a10c86c5.jpg (234×320)

In the end it is all about the lessons


The other day, I was talking to someone closer to my age about how scary it is that life seems to be dashing by. Yesterday, I was planning a summer get away and now POOF it is almost Christmas. I brought up a point I made in a past post…

https://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/unfolding-prayer-requests/

                                                                                     About how good God is, and about how when you really look back at the important stuff, it all worked out in the end. I had a prayer tin when I was a young wife and mother and faithfully put prayers in it. I found it years later, and every single one was answered in some way. Perhaps, not the way I’d envisioned. But they ALL actually were answered.

Later that day, a young girl that I was talking to, shared with me how she was heart-broken about the ending of a relationship and I told her my prayer tin story and how things that seem so important now, really won’t in four or five years. Of course four or five years to her is a lifetime, or at least a quarter of her young life, and I’m not sure if she believed me, but…. It made me think. Age is not such a curse. Good things come with experience. Hopefully wisdom is a biggy.

In my life, I have had a few hard lessons. And it’s funny, because NOW, all these lessons that I refer to have seemed to have collectively gathered at one time. EVERY day, I have had quite a few of those light bulb moments recently. And I guess you could call it wisdom. In writing my book, I have re-written the ending at least a dozen times. I do know that since I typed that first word of the first page, I have lived a lifetime in my heart. The poem below is not where I am today. It is just part of my story, a chapter in my book. I am so glad that I have lived past that time in my life. I am so glad that God answers prayers and that life goes on, and that we are forgiven of our indiscretions. In the end, I guess it is all about the lessons.

door little girl peeking out black and white

In the corners of my mind,

 behind the closed doors of my heart,

I struggle with the melody,

 that keeps us far apart.

couple on the dock

Loyalties and passion,

twirl inside my head,

memories of the past play there,

 like a story I once read.

smelling the books girl

Heartache is the tune that plays

 in the background of my soul,

charging for my sins,

 like a gate keepers constant toll.

Diane Reed                                                                                                                                                                                                                              © 2014

I Miss You Lucy


You know that one house and that one friend’s mom that you remember from your childhood? It was the one place you always felt welcome by that one mom who was not yours. You felt special because you knew she really wanted you around and it wasn’t because you were her kid and she had to feel that way. It was your first experience of knowing your worth and feeling valued because of who you were and not because of who you belonged to. Sure, I knew my mom loved me and that mattered to me, a lot. But there is a time in your life when you feel funny and interesting and likable because you are who you are, and only because of that. And someone else enjoys you and wants you around.

I grew up in Palos Verdes California, down the street from Lucy. She was that mom in my memory and always in my heart. I was about eleven when I met her. My mom was an artist when I was growing up and Lucy was always decorating something. I am not sure what ever came of the meeting or if my mom ever painted the mural she inquired about, but I do know that her oldest daughter, Kathy and I became fast friends along with all of Lucy’s daughters. She had four. It was like I hit the Jack Pot meeting them. They all went to a local Catholic School and because they didn’t go to our public school, the neighborhood kids were small minded and slow to embrace them. Well, all I can say is… their loss was surely my gain!

I took turns being good friends with each of her daughters during different stages of my life. And then a few years later, Lucy went through a divorce and met a man named Bob, who she married, bringing two more kids into the fold. It was a wonderful family and I loved each one of them in different ways throughout my life. But Lucy ended up being my friend that I’d go visit years later. I remember staying up late at night for hours at a time talking to Lucy. I loved spending the night at their house and when they moved, I think I went into a small depression. Until, we reunited when my mom discovered a phone number that had gotten “misplaced.” That summer, I promptly moved in with them in Orange County where they’d moved and spent several weeks hanging out with Lucy as she picked out new wallpaper and tile for the 6000 foot home she was building in Fallbrook overlooking their several acres of avocados that Bob was going to manage.

The plan was for me to find a job somewhere in Fallbrook and join them. But between getting very engrossed in a serious relationship and missing my own mom a little more than I thought I would, I didn’t follow through with the final plans to move there with them. Though, I did get a job offer after I’d moved back home. And always kind of regretted not getting to live in that amazing house that my sweet Lucy built for her family and included me in that plan. Even though I never lived there, I visited several times a year for many years until I got caught up in having my own family. Slowly, the visits became less frequent. Though Lucy and  Kathy, attended my dad’s funeral and Bob and Lucy attended my second wedding, and Lucy even came to stay at my house a time or two, I regret letting life interfere with our visits and I often wonder how different my life might have been if I’d moved into that wonderful home.

A few years before Lucy died, I took my daughter to visit her and we had such a neat visit. I wanted to share a piece of Lucy with her and I really feel she “GOT” who Lucy was to me. I will always be grateful that she agreed to go and that we have that memory.

Tonight, while I was driving home, I drove past a house with a long driveway filled with cars and it reminded me of that house in Fallbrook. It always looked as if it was having a party, because of all the cars parked there. But they all just belonged to her family, each in their own rooms or in different parts of the house just living there. And it gave me this warm melancholy feeling. And it made me think. Legacy isn’t just something physical that you leave, it’s not a building or a fortune, but something intangible. Something far more valuable. It might leave a hole when it’s gone that takes your breath away, but even more, it gives you that place in your heart to fall, the one person, or place you remember when no other place works quite as well.

 

It’s been over a year since she has left this world

and yet, sometimes knowing that she’s not just a phone call away any longer,

takes my breath away.

lucy

winnie goodbye quote

 

All The Special Places That We Left Behind


doorknob

Sometimes I wander through my mind like rooms inside my past.

Going back to different places that left my life too fast.

little girl looking out window

 Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could go and find,

all the special places that we’ve left behind?

girl at a new door out in field

If at any given moment we could go down memory lane,

and everything we left once, could somehow be the same?

DADDY & ME

I know exactly where I’d go and who I’d want to see.

I know if I could pick an age, just how old I’d want to be

my portfolio from the seventies

 But I know there’s no such thing as going back again,

to find our yesterdays in places where we’ve been.

peaceful forest

I guess in all that I have learned to finally understand,

that being happy is done best,  exactly where I am!

me at my wedding shower

Diane Reed

2014

Empty Nesters Unite! As we watch our baby birds graduate and learn to let go!


 

This is the time of year…

empty birds nest

We are trying not to count the days. We know it is coming up. We are trying to be happy. And yet it is extremely hard.  This is bascially a re-share      that I posted  before my blog was very well known. I thought that I would reshare it as some of you are approaching that time in your life as you watch your babies graduate and wonder where the time has flown off to. It is hard to believe that the boy in this story is going to be 34 tomorrow! I just had to stop today to say….. Happy Birthday Chadly! Your mom loves you!

I remember when my son left home. It was his Senior Year. It was a crazy time for us to move and yet it happened. I remember always shaking my head when I’d hear stories of parents uprooting their kids from their last years of High School and yet we found ourselves in that same position. I was not ready. He was not ready. And yet it is a choice I made and will always look back and wonder about. In the end, he moved in with his dad. I am glad because his dad is gone now and it was a great bonding time for them that my son will always cherish. And yet as a mom who was pretty over protective all of his young life, I had to let go, knowing for the most part, that the supervision would not be identical. In fact, it was pretty non existent. I am pretty sure all curfews flew out the window along with my baby bird!

I remember once my son calling me and telling me that one of his dad’s room mate’s had brought home Jack In The Box for everyone but him. I am sure there was food in the house and he was not going to starve and that there may have been a good reason for leaving him out… mainly his attitude which has always been a bit challenging… Smile… But I can’t imagine his father partaking in the food while our son sat watching. Though I “get” that I was not privy to the full picture. As a mother missing her baby you can imagine my heart. So I began sending care packages.

care package

Sure I could have sent money and saved the shipping, but I found joy in choosing his favorite things and “knowing” he’d be fed. I don’t doubt that my ex was supplying the basic needs but not the hugs from his mom and so I sent those packages pretty regularly. Until I was asked not to.

One day I got a phone call asking me to “stop” (sending the packages) by my ex. He said, “Diane, you are not helping.” I will never forget how hard it was. I understood that my son was actually 18 by that time, had a job and was living rent free so just had to pay for his gas and food. My ex had moved out of his parent’s house his senior year, and  I know that he just wanted our son to grow up and learn about life the way he had to. It was a love thing. He wasn’t trying to be mean. But it was hard for him to understand my “mother’s heart” and that the thought of my baby being cold or sad or going hungry for even just one minute was hard for me. Okay well maybe I wasn’t that bad but  I did want to confront him about that Jack In The Box incident but I didn’t want to betray my son. And I wanted to tell my son that it was his dad who was making me stop sending the care packages but I could not betray his dad.

box open

It seemed as if everytime I turned around that year, I’d see a little boy that reminded me of my son. I missed him so much. But I knew that he wasn’t that little boy anymore. He was all grown up and I needed to let go.

Chad's first day of school

 

I guess I actually was glad that his dad taught him the hard lessons that I couldn’t.

I’ve shared this poem before here but it is one that I wrote right before my first baby bird tumbled out of my nest… This one is for all the moms having to let go this year as their baby birds fly off to school or where ever it might be. I understand and feel for you all. And I am here to tell you that you will survive! My son did! He has his own business and a beautiful family. Letting go isn’t always easy, nor is letting our baby birds fall out of the sky sometimes… but if we let them… experience the highs and the lows… someday they will learn to soar and that is enough hope for me. (This poem is also for the young moms who can’t wait for school to start and need a little reminder…  of just how FAST it all flies by!)

SON

 Seems like only  yesterday I held you in my arms

Oh how you swept me away with all your baby charms.

The days just flew by quickly, soon you began to talk

and then a little later, you began to walk….

“Mommy will you cross me? I want to go and play.”

Oh those words ring sweetly, now seem like yesterday.

The years have swiftly passed,

don’t know where they’ve all gone,

And when you cross the street now,

 you don’t need to call your mom.

It has happened right in front of me, before my very eyes…

packed away, your faded jeans, one of every size…

Teddy bears and old match box cars,

all packed with loving care,

boxes son

baseball cards and folded notes of secrets that you shared.

I sit amongst the boxes recalling our memories all alone

and realize that baby, once in my arms,

 is now fully grown~

boxes

And silently I wonder through a mixture of joy and tears…

Did I truly show how much I loved you

through  those tender years?

Sometimes it’s hard when you’re the mom

to make your child understand

just how VERY  proud she is when he becomes a man!

Diane Reed

1997

teddy in box

(Time flies! The one I wrote this  this poem for now has a family of his own!)

Brenden and Chad Muslemen

Inside Every Minute


 

 The older I grow

the more I don’t know

the faster the days go by.

Yesterday’s passed

the minutes don’t last

it make me just stop and sigh.

The laughter and tears

the hopes and the fears

another candle blown out

Inside every minute

the memories in it

Well, In the end

THAT’S what it’s ALL about!

Diane Reed 14

 

Definition of True Love; If I’d only known….


verse corinth13

As I have recently taken time  to work on my book and go back in my memories to gather information. It has been like therapy for me.  And what I have come to realize does not only apply just to young love but to true love….  It has boggled my mind that I have not figured this out until now! After living well into five decades, I am baffled that it has just come to me so clearly during this Valentine’s Day month….and it is this: There are two kinds of love. One is TRUE LOVE and one is… well, it is… just not! And in writing my book and amidst decades of confusion, and a few broken hearts, I think I may have figured it out.

Let me explain… I have been loved two ways in my lifetime (a few times) And there really are not a lot of options other than two. True love is loving someone  purely because you love them for who they are. Almost like a parent loves a child. It is an unselfish love. A hard to explain kind of love. A love you because of who you are kind of love. The second kind of love is a selfish kind of love. They do things for you to get something back. They give you gifts, they woo you, they promise you the moon… all for their own gain. Not that true love can’t give you genuine from the heart, unselfish well thought out gifts and promise you things to the moon and take you there too… but it is all in knowing which kind of love you are receiving and that my friends is where the trick comes in!

As you know, our emotions can get in the way and whether we are ten and writing notes or fifteen in the backseat of a car or fifty in the back seat of a car! Some of us just don’t stop and think. Age should provide a guage and for most of us it does, but sometimes our hearts have so many holes in them we just want that FAST fix-it job, trying to fill them up the best way we know how. And sometimes that does not mean with our brains kicked in or with a lot of patience.

I think that God designed love in this amazingly perfect way. He mapped it all out for us and and gave us the best example first. A mother’s love. The problem with that is… some mothers suck at loving. And sadly some even only give their children the second kind of love. They only know how to love selfishly and so they in turn don’t teach their kids how to love correctly and then their kids grow up to love other kids that may have had mothers that sucked at loving them and they find  each other in that messed up kind of loving way they have kids and so on and son… and well, we all know how messed up this world is. Even though God Himself has provided some pretty good Mother Love examples.

jesus mary

And if we do it HIS way and wait and get to know WHO we are loving, we could save ourselves a lot of pain. But then who does that? And even if some of us do… it is no guarantee that even if they had the best kind of mother’s love there wasn’t some glitch and they just didn’t get it! Arghhhh!!!!

I guess since this month is coming to a close and I didn’t really get a chance to blog about Valentine’s Day because I was so busy with my project on my other blog: http://kerisjournal.wordpress.com/  where I was feeling a little cynical there focusing on a relationship with a selfish kind of love and am coming to terms with a mother in that story that affected a lot of lives. I had to stop here and make a side note of how grateful I am for truly WAKING UP and recognizing TRUE LOVE for what it really is…. It is not what you can get out of it, it is what you can give, it is not how happy you are all the time, it is about how happy you can make the other person…. it may not always be about doing what you want… it may be bigger… like moving somewhere away from your friends and family for his or her job for a while,  or going on a vacation you really didn’t want to go on because they did… or letting them choose the restaurant or movie for a change… or even as simple as watching a different TV show and then not keeping tabs about who owes who, because love is not about owing. It is about giving and not needing anything in return!

love poem

 

Folding Pages


 My life is so busy that I’ve gotten out of the habit of reading a real book, you know, turning the pages and actually sitting down to read. I usually have an audio book playing in my car or a few books I read on Kindle when I’m waiting in a waiting room or in a long line somewhere but it had been a long time since I’d really gotten into a good old book with paper pages. I hate to say it but I’d begun to even read my Bible mainly on Kindle.

Over the holidays my friend gave me a great coffee mug and a wonderful book called The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve. (But that is not what my post is about. Though I am pretty sure that I have discovered a new favorite author!) Anywaaaay… in the course of reading this particular book, I’d have to mark my place and go do things as I read the chapters throughout that week. And so I’d fold a page just so I could find my way back to where I left off. And it made me think.  (Of course.)

Sometimes we are right in the middle of life when we are called away. We want to come back and finish what we started so we mark the place we left. In my case, I fold pages. But not just in books. I have done it all my life, from the time I was very small.

reading in the grass

As I grew older, I always have had the tendency to look back. Not necessarily with regret but more so with curiosity.

reading library ladder

 

Today I think I live in a montage of folded pages.

folded pages room

 

I have recently had a need to go back and unfold the pages and close some of those old books. And I am slowly doing that, one page and one book at a time. I am not sure if anyone but a special handful of people I know, can truly understand what I mean. I am the kind of reader that can read a book and years or even months later pick it up again and re-read it, finding a host of new details that I missed the first time. I have done that a lot lately.  But as I go through my life now, I have begun to try to not have so many folded pages and  metaphorically speaking, to read the chapter all the way through and finish it and finally just move on!

folded pagessss

Folded pages in my life,

fill each book I read

marking places  left behind,

but  some day, I may need.

Books I’ve never finished

to the very end,

line my shelves waiting where…

 I might pick them up again.

Scattered places in my life,

like pages I have marked,

call me back like folded pages

where once I left my heart!

Diane Reed

2014©

heart ring in pages

Sooo I have a question…. As I start to go back and finally finish my book, for those of you who kind of know what my book is about (if you are interested you can go and look up Chapter One or… Would You Read This?  in Search on my page and get a very rough draft of it.)

I am trying to finalize the Title…. I am thinking of changing it from Pieces Of The Circle to…. Folded Pages….   What do you guys think?

In One Blink


 

photos3

Memories of promises

made of tule and lace

lace

lost inside a moment

in one blink it’s been erased

floor crying girl

learning lessons can really hurt

and the pain can seem unending.

couple hugging melancholy woman's face

Smiles and sometimes laughter

stashed behind a heart’s pretending.

letter bundle

Faded letters now just memories

along with promises once made,

ring

by all the ones who’ve let me down…

the ones who should have stayed

bride walking in the waves

It’s hard to face  yesterday

when I stopped believing;

sad couple

 the day when I  realized promises

 don’t stop those you love from leaving.

woman crying outside the door

Diane Reed

2013

For my book…

Moving Day


mirror renass

Looking back into the mirror,

split personality mirror

a reflection of my past…

mirror brokennnn

The doors I chose to walk through

and the ones I closed too fast…

three doors

Messages I never got

letter bundle

and the ones that I received…

phone call

the ones I knew were just your lies

and the ones that  I believed

phone off the hook

all pour through my memory

like rain beating on my heart

RAIN

years are not the only thing

that have torn my dreams apart.

breaking up

and made me see the strength in me

as I gather them up with care

moving day suitcases

and move on to another day

memory alone

where I won’t find you there

Diane Reed

2012

looking back quote

Behind The Door Of Yesterday


girl at a new door out in field

Behind the doors of yesterday

girl carrying huge key

we all hold that perfect key

ballerina

unlocking places in our past

ballerina sitting on floor

where shadows used to be

dancing in the wind

Dancing upon moonbeams  until all  the music dies

SONY DSC

letting go of all the pain as the broken winged one flies…

floor crying girl

Falling hard from our dreams, when we finally land

 baby in a bubble

searching for our innocence all where we first began.

finding Diane3

Diane Reed

2013

As I continue to work on my book, I feel stuck. I am in a place of pain. Of total confusion. I guess ambivalence would be the best word to describe where I have landed. I keep going backwards. I need to start moving forward. I have a story to tell. A lot has to do with my past. I have the framework sitting there for me to build upon and yet I am not sure why I need to write these silly poems that have nothing to do with me today….

Or do they?

Empty Nests… Letting the first one go…


This is the time of year…

empty birds nest

We are trying not to count the days. We know it is coming up. We are trying to be happy. And yet it is extremely hard.

I remember when my son left home. It was his Senior Year. It was a crazy time for us to move and yet it happened. I remember always shaking my head when I’d hear stories of parents uprooting their kids from their last years of High School and yet we found ourselves in that same position. I was not ready. He was not ready. And yet it is a choice I made and will always look back and wonder about. In the end, he moved in with his dad. I am glad because his dad is gone now and it was a great bonding time for them that my son will always cherish. And yet as a mom who was pretty over protective all of his young life, I had to let go, knowing for the most part, that the supervision would not be identical. In fact, it was pretty non existent. I am pretty sure all curfews flew out the window along with my baby bird!

I remember once my son calling me and telling me that one of his dad’s room mate’s had brought home Jack In The Box for everyone but him. I am sure there was food in the house and he was not going to starve and that there may have been a good reason for leaving him out… mainly his attitude which has always been a bit challenging… Smile… But I can’t imagine his father partaking in the food while our son sat watching. Though I “get” that I was not privy to the full picture. As a mother missing her baby you can imagine my heart. So I began sending care packages.

care package

Sure I could have sent money and saved the shipping, but I found joy in choosing his favorite things and “knowing” he’d be fed. I don’t doubt that my ex was supplying the basic needs but not the hugs from his mom and so I sent those packages pretty regularly. Until I was asked not to.

One day I got a phone call asking me to “stop” (sending the packages) by my ex. He said, “Diane, you are not helping.” I will never forget how hard it was. I understood that my son was actually 18 by that time, had a job and was living rent free so just had to pay for his gas and food. My ex had moved out of his parent’s house his senior year, and  I know that he just wanted our son to grow up and learn about life the way he had to. It was a love thing. He wasn’t trying to be mean. But it was hard for him to understand my “mother’s heart” and that the thought of my baby being cold or sad or going hungry for even just one minute was hard for me. Okay well maybe I wasn’t that bad but  I did want to confront him about that Jack In The Box incident but I didn’t want to betray my son. And I wanted to tell my son that it was his dad who was making me stop sending the care packages but I could not betray his dad.

box open

It seemed as if everytime I turned around that year, I’d see a little boy that reminded me of my son. I missed him so much. But I knew that he wasn’t that little boy anymore. He was all grown up and I needed to let go.

Chad's first day of school

 

I guess I actually was glad that his dad taught him the hard lessons that I couldn’t.

I’ve shared this poem before here but it is one that I wrote right before my first baby bird tumbled out of my nest… This one is for all the moms having to let go this year as their baby birds fly off to school or where ever it might be. I understand and feel for you all. And I am here to tell you that you will survive! My son did! He has his own business and a beautiful family. Letting go isn’t always easy, nor is letting our baby birds fall out of the sky sometimes… but if we let them… experience the highs and the lows… someday they will learn to soar and that is enough hope for me. (This poem is also for the young moms who can’t wait for school to start and need a little reminder…  of just how FAST it all flies by!)

SON

 Seems like only  yesterday I held you in my arms

Oh how you swept me away with all your baby charms.

The days just flew by quickly, soon you began to talk

and then a little later, you began to walk….

“Mommy will you cross me? I want to go and play.”

Oh those words ring sweetly, now seem like yesterday.

The years have swiftly passed,

don’t know where they’ve all gone,

And when you cross the street now,

 you don’t need to call your mom.

It has happened right in front of me, before my very eyes…

packed away, your faded jeans, one of every size…

Teddy bears and old match box cars,

all packed with loving care,

boxes son

baseball cards and folded notes of secrets that you shared.

I sit amongst the boxes recalling our memories all alone

and realize that baby, once in my arms,

 is now fully grown~

boxes

And silently I wonder through a mixture of joy and tears…

Did I truly show how much I loved you

through  those tender years?

Sometimes it’s hard when you’re the mom

to make your child understand

just how VERY  proud she is when he becomes a man!

Diane Reed

1997

teddy in box

No where in-between


As I write my story. I feel many emotions. And the words just flood out of me. They don’t really represent any place that I am now. But they will always represent a place that I will always be. This one is for me when I was just turning twenty and over three decades later…

walking on glass

Like stepping  on glass, I test before I stand

but you jump right in not caring where you land

glass jumping

It’s all or nothing where ever you are concerned

I begin to wonder …. if I’ll ever learn

sad couple

I need to test the waters, before I jump back in

Just so you know…. I won’t go back to that place again

sad image of girl crying

That place where I left “me” behind

That place where you could seek but not find

more doors

I’ve found my footing and am on solid ground

I’ve been lost and now I’m found

Tara

I’m not sure if you’ll ever GET what I mean

but I’ll never again be stuck in your in-betweens.

Diane Reed

2013

Thirty Years Ago Today…


album daddy and friends

My Dad is the one squatting with all his friends surrounding him It is crazy how much my son looks like him here.

01p091

My dad used to always play the guitar and sing to me…. I think he knew all of five songs! One of them was: “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should” from the commerical. He used to tease me all the time.

daddyMy dad and me 50 years ago ~

He never felt comfortable going to church or getting his pictures taken… You can tell he wasn’t too thrilled here.

I do remember he came to church when I got Baptized. After he died I prayed for God to give me a peace about knowing he was indeed saved and with The Lord… and at that very moment I found the sweetest letter my dad had written in the Air Force about God to my mom. Isn’t God great?!

DADDY & ME

My dad and I at the County Fair

WEDDING DAY WITH MY MOM & DADDYI was so happy here… little did I know I’d lose my dad only five years later…

I remember getting the phone call  on the day that my dad died. It was that kind of surreal unexpected horrific “Kennedy moment” that I will never forget. Heart attacks are like that. They are filled with unsaid goodbyes and conversations that ache to be finished even three decades later. The one thing that I will always have is the way that my Daddy loved my writing. He always encouraged it and believed in me. One of his last letters to me mentioned it and in the end, written words from me were my last connection with him.

My dad died July 9, 1983. My son had just turned 3 and barely had a chance to know his papa but I remember how tickled my dad was when he taught him to play pacman and his 3 year old grandson got to BABY PACMAN! And I am so that he never got to meet my daughter who was not yet born, though I do have an inkling that he might have hand chosen her in heaven if God lets dads do that kind of thing! There was just so many things I still wanted to say to my dad but it was too late. Today it is funny to think that I am now older than my dad was when he died. You’d think I would have learned the life lesson about goodbyes and always doing it in love. I guess that may be the reason that I tend to try to say “I love you” every time I say goodbye now.

I’d been a Daddy’s girl as I was growing up.  He was the one who used to take me shopping for school clothes every year. It is strange now but I don’t remember my mom ever going clothes shopping with me. I guess because it was OUR thing, my daddy’s and mine. We had a great relationship.  He was the one I’d talk to about boys and the one in my life that I cared most about  not disappointing or always wanting to make him proud. He had the kind of quiet integrity that in the end, filled up the chapel to standing room only where his services were held.

When our Pastor asked us if there was something I’d like him to talk about regarding my dad, I remembered that I’d written him a Father’s Day card a few weeks earlier. So I ran up to see if I could find it. Sure enough he’d saved it in the drawer by his bedside. I will always be grateful that I had the chance to give him this last message….  I know he didn’t just read it once. It still comforts me that I know he knew even without a poem. But in memory of today and him I wanted to share it with “YOU”  my friends here today. This one is for you Daddy!

No one could ever fill the shoes I once put over mine,

lost within your slippers, my feet were hard to find.

Yes, your overwhelming presence was felt within your shoes…

A feeling so great, though I’m grown, I know I’ll never lose.

Each night when you’d walk in the door from working hard all day,

a security would fill me up and push all my cares away.

And though I’m now a mother with a small one of my own

I’ll always look back upon the days before I was fully grown…

And when I’m with him on the beach, sometimes it brings to mind

stepping within your footprints as I’d follow close behind

I pray that now that I’m the one followed by little feet

I’ll leave half the footprints I found within your feet.

Diane Griffin

1983

If we said a thousand goodbyes…


QUOTE WINNIE THE POOH PRING

The messages attached to “Good bye” mean different things at different times in our lives. To some it means see you later when to others it holds the sting of finality. And then there are those who though they may have said it a thousand times … they are the ones who will never completely ever be gone. They are the ones whose “goodbyes ” have as much strength as a feather.

And then…. there are the ones who are completely gone. They have left this world. Their ashes have been scattered and we will never hear their voices (at least not on this earth) again. In a way it really makes me resent the game playing in the frivilous goodbyes. I mean after all, life is so fragile. It should mean so much more than it seems to. We are not game pieces that can be moved by the toss of a dice. We are human beings with lives that are already hanging from the most fragile of threads. We can only play with the hand we are given but it makes how we play so much more important.

Inside the memory of a thousand good byes

my grieving heart sees through it’s lies

past the dreams we gave away

wondering now… what if we’d stayed?

so tell me again go ahead

beat the horse until it’s dead

Explain it to me, please just try

What should I do with your goodbyes?

Diane Reed

2013

winnie... if the comes a time

Falling In Love AGAIN


This one is for those who remember these words from a verse I heard long ago…

“Oh my love come grow old with me… for the BEST is yet to be….

So many times when we are young we don’t grasp that we are actually living our “Good Old Days” we have bills and toddlers to deal with and then suddenly in a blink of an eye it is over… our toddlers have grown up and moved on to have families of their own and we find ourselves living like strangers wondering WHO is this person I am living with? Perhaps with much water under the bridge where we even forget why we fell in love in the first place… It is up to us to remember. To realize that we almost missed the BEST in the part we promised each other long ago.

If you are in that place… lonely and wondering; WHERE the the heck is the BEST you promised me?! Look inside yourself. And remember LOVE is a verb!

coffee in the morning

I caught myself looking at you

and in the wisp of the moment,

on the breath of love,

older couple laughing

as an angel’s wing brushed my heart

I remembered

what falling felt like…

 couple kissing outside

The scent of joy and passion

the sound of laughter

riding on a memory…

All mixed in with the pain of life

arguing couple2

that almost made me forget.

But in that glance

hugging2

I fell down into my memories

rushing past all the bad

and landing in all the good

falling, falling, falling

 in love again.

Diane Reed ’13

couple hugging melancholy woman's face

Saying Goodbye to Best Friends…


When I was a little girl you became my second mom

I’d spend the night at your house and we’d talk till well past dawn

Your daughters were my best friends I was friends with them all

but later in life, when we grew up, it was “you” who I’d call…

Oh Lucy, how I dreaded the call I got today. So many memories flood my heart as I write this. You were always my soft place to fall, my advisor, my confidant, my constant. So consistent in my life. Always just a phone call away. Opening up your home for me to live with you guys when I was younger and then for visits whenever I could get away. I grew to love you like my own family. I smile as I think about our late night chats as Bob would call down “Lucille!” And you would tell him you’d be right up and then two hours would have passed as you stayed to chat some more. I loved your stories. Some of them were life changing for me. Some molded my life in ways that made me into who I am today.

When you found the Lord, you were so on fire. And that fire never went out. I could come for a visit or pick up the phone and you were just as in love with your Lord as you were on the first day you really found HIM. Even our last phone call was all about HIM. And I am so confident that in my own selfish sadness (please bear with me while I catch my breath realizing that you won’t be here for me anymore) I know you are so happy, free from pain in your wonderful Savior’s arms. But in the meantime I need to adjust knowing that I won’t ever hear again your wonderful voice and the joy you always seemed to have in it when you would hear it was me on the other end….

I’d hear…. “Oh helloooo baby, or Diane-eeee or Darling” You always made me feel that you were soooo happy to hear from me in a way I don’t think anyone ever has before. And I’ll miss that.

I am so glad that I got to bring my baby for a visit a couple of years ago. She remembered visiting you as a little girl but it had been too long. It was quite an adventure getting to your wonderful *mansion* in the dark up on the hill in Fallbrook…. *funny the memories little kids have*… I remember as you were building it and going with you to pick out wallpapers for ALL those  bathrooms and the tile for the pool. I will always cherish memories of that wonderful house you made into a home. It looked so much the same as I remember the last time we visited… another constant in my life.       Sooo much more than just that house, you were the one who never changed. And on the way home from our visit Brookie said; “Thank you Mama for making me go with you. I love her too.”

Oh Lucy, what am I going to do without you as my soft place to fall? You have left quite a legacy in your path… so many lives you have touched. You will be missed. But you are home now. Heaven must be so wonderful for you. So many people who you have touched, waiting in line to greet and thank you! Save a place for me! I love you!

 LUCY

Click on the song below to understand WHO Lucy has been in this lifetime to me!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6j_YpZQi-I4

Like Romeo And Juliet


Disclaimer:

This poem is for my book that I am working on (all fiction don’t worry!)

 Pieces of the Circle

letters with ribbon

True love can’t be forgotten

though years have hid it’s flame~

Lost love held inside of me

without shelter or a name

ring

 Finding me in my despair,

weary from the pain

so ready for young love

to be restored for me again

woman at the mirror

We hesitated in mid air

like a note sung by a singer~

The scent of love we used to know

somehow made us stop and linger~

couple on a hill

Did we understand the cost

of choosing to stay or close the door?

Did we deserve to take our turn

and even ask for more?

holding hands at sunset

The love inside of me grew until

I thought that I would burst

I feared  that what I held dear,

by my loved ones would be cursed

goodbye hug

The past has met the present

like waves upon the sand~

The foundation was never ready

for us to step on or to stand

walking on the beach

We were caught inside a love story

with all the tragedy and pain

No one would ever accept our love

or allow it to remain,

young girl running away from yelling boyfriend

like Romeo and Juliet,

like Elizabeth and Browning.

Our love was like a soaring sea

as we struggled to keep from drowning.

past lovers quote

God became our rescuer,

The One who calms the seas.

The One who knows all of our tomorrows,

and what they all will be.

Jesus loves me and you

And so we rest in HIM

and put us in His care

And when we I look for true love…

I know I’ll  find Him there.

Diane Reed

2013

*Note* This poem is stored here for future use in my book. (Previous chapters can be found here in this blog.*)

Safe Keeping


boo boo

Like a bruise, my heart has places that…

I don’t want to touch again.

Like paint that never dries

or a story that never ends.

beach book

My mind keeps wandering back

and I get lost in the past,

then you come and wake me up

writer asleep

like pushing forward fast!

Snapping me right out of

the nightmare that kept me sleeping,

a kiss

handing back the heart

you were holding for safe keeping.

young couple making up

Diane Reed

2013

You Did


At the risk of sounding like an old country song… this one’s for my husband… I’m proud of you babe! I BELIEVE in you!  I miss you!

This one’s for you……..

church pew

Went to church with a broken heart and two kids,

wondering if anyone would ever love me again

and then you did.

img172

Saw you up there in the front,  leading songs,

my heart beat a little faster after that first date we went on.

Seems so long ago since those days when we first met,

if I’d been a gambler, I might not have taken that bet.

crying in the sand

And yet twenty years later we seem to have survived,

Rose in the woods 1

in-between lots of heart break our love’s still alive!

Wedding Garter

I’ve become a grandma

and you…

a Papa to our kid’s kids.

Auntie me

grandpa and jas

After I thought no one would love me again…

holding hands

 you did.

~~~~~

Diane Reed

2013

Child Within~


I had to come back to this place

always heard whispering in my ear

Oh Little girl, somehow I knew

I’d still find you here.

reflection black and white

Among the memories waiting

wondering if  I was coming back

to find the child I left long ago

forgotten in my  past.

praying family of hands

I gather you up and hold you close

as we walk through the rooms of our soul

Pieces of you and me once broken,

healing and becoming whole.

little girl in mirror

Looking inside from the child within

I see all the pain you must feel.

Knowing that we must tend to each wound

before we  truly begin to heal.

lonely little hop scotch girl

We walk through the lonely places

that once held our yesterdays

oh how I wished I’d protected you

in so many different ways.

contemplating life

And yet I know that through the hurting,

we’ve gained strength in what we’ve learned.

In all the lessons remembered,

in all the times once burned.

bride walking in the waves

In every tear we ever cried,

and every broken heart,

in every time we were in a crowd,

and felt a million miles apart.

crying girl

We learned to hold the truth inside

and somehow we got by,

we built the walls around our heart

and “they” never saw us cry.

couple on the dock

We learned that fighting to survive

was what we had to do,

and so I lost the biggest part of me

the day when I lost you.

hands sillouette

It’s hard to face the ugly truth

and really look inside,

to know I left you all alone,

living with the hurts and lies.

finding diane mirror

You were the child inside of me

and I failed you the most.

In the mistakes I made along the way,

in the different paths I chose~

reflection in mirror black and white

But I’ve come back to find you,

to finally bring you home!

So that together we can learn to live

and never be alone!

finding Diane two

I want to find the kid inside,

and heal the pain we knew.

I want to learn to love the me,

that I forgot to love in you!

triumphant

And as I pack up all your things,

I have hope in what will be…

As I learn to love you more…

Cuzzzz after all you’re ME!

Diane Reed

2013

Yesterday’s Melody Part II


Please read the end note when you finish the poem!

Thanks!!!!

ballet worn out slippers

I dance in the flames as I fall into step ~

Trying to miss the places that made you upset~

smoke

The memories make me jump higher and higher~

I feel the sting as I dance past the fire~

ballerina steps

The tears bring back the pain that I’d  put away,

spinning back  into the melody of yesterday~

ballerina spinning

Like a butterfly trapped, still inside it’s cacoon~

I dance through my mind running from each room~

ballerina

as I close the door, where  you live in my mind,

I find the part of me that I left behind.

dancing couple in black and white

Just like a jewelry box dancer trapped in a box

ballerina in jewelry box

my heart is inside with the key and it’s lock.

ballerina in the mirror

Diane Reed

2013

Before you get too concerned. I have a friend who is reading my book (Has read almost my whole blog) and has written a song that we both have been working on. I was supposed to do the lyrics and believe me I thought it would be a piece of cake. I had written songs before with others who wrote the music and I wrote the words, and it had come so easily. But this one was not so easy. I think because I have been stuck at the end of my book not really knowing how to finish it, I was stuck in the writing of the song process. I am not saying that I have found the perfect words yet but the well has opened  and I am finding inspiration again. The book is about certain things and my recent poems are as well. Don’t worry about me being stuck in the past… smile…. I may write about it as I continue working on my book because I have thought about including a poem before each chapter so I am just working on ideas. I am writing about yesterday but standing in today. I promise!

To sample my friend Jim’s piece that he wrote I have shared his link to his blog that you may find inspiring. He is very talented. His song is called Finding Diane…. (Even though I am writing my book in fictional form, and so it would be Finding Keri 😉  ) I love it so much! This is actually the ending… maybe he will post the whole song soon…. http://nostolencatpictures.com/2013/03/31/music-theory-0031/#more-2804 It would be fun if you would stop by and LIKE his blog. He has some great posts in his archives as well as the beginning to this song! Thanks guys!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAR!


img261img266DAR YOUNG GIRL COLOR

 (My Mother In-Law)

When I was a little girl, I imagined so many things…

Constantly wondering what my life might bring~

Who I would love and share my life with

Who I would marry, and if I’d have  kids~

window seat girl

Well, life happened differently far from my dreams,

Happy endings are not what they all seem.

I was hurt by my life by the time I met you,

and it was hard for anyone to really get through.

engaged girl crying

But you were so patient and forgave many times,

and finally we bonded through the years like fine wine~

Today I have regrets over the time that I wasted,

like a lifetime of chocolate all left untasted!

chocolate

Your wisdom and experience is hard to compare,

and the way that you love, is so very rare~

Bible

You have lived your life like a fine work of art,

but even more, is the beauty I’ve found in your heart~

holding child's hands

You’ve been an amazing grandma through all the years

thinking of your love, just brings me to tears~

054

And today, as I stop to realize… everything in the end….

The mother in law I imagined once, is now one of my best friends!

mother in law quote

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAR!

I love you!

DAR & ME IN MY KITCHEN

Happy 25th Birthday To My Brookie Baby!


Brookie's shower

Can it be twenty five years ago that you came into this world,

My sweet little blue eyed precious baby girl?

You captured my heart from the moment we met!

The first time I held you… well, I will never forget.

Brookie Baby pointing

You overwhelmed me with love at the very start

and through the years you have captured my heart

You have made me laugh and entertained us from the beginning

With you in our lives we were constantly grinning

Brookie Baby snorting

You’ve taken on life with all of your might

When you take on a project you fight the good fight

You finish it through to the very end

And then you get up to do it all over again

Brookie played till she dropped!

You have a way of holding our hearts in the palm of your  hand

And when you believe in something, you take a firm stand

Your beauty has been evident from the very start

But what I am most proud of… is what’s in your heart!

photos 006

As a mama I could count all the things you have done,

counting to a thousand naming them each, one by one~

but it’s not just your talents  or the way that you shine,

even though I’m constantly  boasting;   the fact that you’re mine…

img216

It’s inside your heart and the faith that we share,

it’s the way that your joy makes you cry when you care~

It’s your kindness and love that you have towards others,

That makes me so proud that I am your mother!

Brookie and Jas

And so as I sift  through the memories today,

trying to wish you Happy Birthday in “our” own little way~

I marvel at it all, for I know, in the end,

Twenty five years ago, I made my very own Best Friend!

IMAG0507

Happy Birthday Brookie Baby!

Yore Mama Loves You!!!!

Brookie and PapaBrookie Blue eyesimg050Brookie Baby bathtimePUB 1img071Brookie & Britney on the swings

Brookie at her Daddy's company picnic01p019Brookester and ChadlyBROOKIE IN APPLE DRESS BEING A GOOD SPORT... SHE HATED THIS DRESS!

img172File003501p065Brookie braids01p039File0042Jim and Brookie baby

img234img065Brookie and her mamaBrookie fishing with Dad and GrandpaBrookie and her daddy with baby JasFile0025Copy of brooke and danielle1BROOKIE SENIOR PIC6flags! 006DSCN0854img2175-1-20106-47-46PMbrookieeee05401p099Brookie and her dadbrookie's indiebrookie

Hey, Brookie,

I just wanted to thank you for being my kid, my hero, my advisor and my very best friend.

You inspire me. You make me want to be better. I am so proud of your accomplishments!

Today, I just have to stop and breathe and realize that God protected you on that day of the earthquake so many years ago, (can it be almost ten?)  as

angels gathered around the place where you stood as our store was crunched  along with the car where you asked to wait in.

We can’t not believe! He has great things in store for you! I BELIEVE that you are going to change the world! Perhaps just one by one in the people

near you or in a much bigger way than we can even imagine. It was so hard to let you go, five years ago when you left our little town to go find your

dream. But you are doing it! Just like that little girl who I would find asleep ON her pile of toys…. you do everything with a ghusto! And I can’t wait to

see what you do next!

May God bless your life and may this year bring answered prayers and dreams come true.

I love you my sweet girl and very best friend~

Happy Birthday!

Mama

.

Happy 77th Birthday Papa!


01p111(Dad right front, mom behind him on the right)

Once upon a time there lived a quiet little boy

Who touched the life of a quiet little girl~

But in-between those good old quiet little days

they went out and lived their lives in the big old noisey world!

img185

Both their lives were filled with joy and sorrow

some tears and a lot of laughter

And all the while God kept planning every detail

of what someday, would  come after!

01p118

They lost touch and had families of their own

As the quiet little boy grew up to be  a handsome youg man~

But even back then, in the scheme of things

God knew what was in store for them because HE had a plan!

ME ONE YEARS OLD

You may not have been there in my beginnings

But you’ve been there during times worth while

You made me believe in happy endings

and were there to walk me down the aisle

01p029

You have been the greatest Papa to my kids

And they love you with all of their hearts

album papa

Brookie and Papa

You have shared stories and planted seeds

molding their little souls from the start!

father and son at sunset

But today… as I reflect on how you have  touched my own life

I wanted to tell you thank you for being there

For really, really, really, really,

Being there!

praying hands

Happy Birthday Papa!

I love you!

(Sorry this was two days late…. )

HAPPY 79TH BIRTHDAY MAMA!


img172

(Baby Gloria)

Once upon a time, there was an angel  God sent down here to earth,

With borrowed wings she found a place and began her life long work~

img171

She has had many joys and sorrows and  been an example to us all;

Starting out quite early she’s been  faithful  to her Savior’s  call~

img180

Her life has been a story she began to write at an early age,

planting seeds along the way  with blessings on each page~

img184

(Mom on the right)

She has filled the world with laughter and become God’s work of art,

img183

(Mom on the left)

teaching other’s about God’s love as they asked Him into their hearts~

album mom's family

Her daddy is with Jesus because she begged him to pray the prayer,

and because of her life so many others are also waiting there!

album mom on deck

And so I am sure that GOD  is pleased that He sent His Angel here to earth

And that heaven also must be celebrating

the day of my mom’s birth!

img206 

(My grandma, my mom and me and my great grandma)

img210

(My mom and me)

album generations of the women

(my mom, me my grandma and my cousin Pammy and my Auntie Roberta)

album mom and gram and me

(Mom, Grandma & me)

album my mom and me at the water fountain img103img188album mom & dadimg065

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAMA!

img148

I LOVE YOU!

DIANE

The Places That Hurt Before


little girl window seat

Her heart was bruised
and a little misused,
she learned at a young age
how it could break~

boy walking away

Years went by
and life went on,
she learned the games
of give and take~

girl lost in the woods

But she always wandered back
into the forest of her yesterdays~
looking past the shadows
losing her way inside the maze~

letting go diary

Now the bruises on her heart…
They don’t hurt much anymore~
unless you push very hard
on the places that hurt before.

Diane Reed ’13

advice about the past

If Only…


girl flying

If only

I could will myself

to you,

floating high above,

that you might

feel my presence

in a surge of love.

Like a curtain moved

by  a summer breeze,

curtains in the breeze

a light wind,

holding tight

as it carries me

Wendy

through my

memories…

love in Heaven sillouette

I would set upon

your rooftop

rooftops

and quietly

 look

right through~

If only to spend

A minute’s

worth of time

with you!

peterpan and wendy not a cartoon

Diane Reed

My Tara


boy selling papers without shoes
When my dad was a young boy… (I think he told me he was about seven or eight,) he had to sell magazines to buy himself a new pair of shoes. He also told me if someone gave him a nickle too much in change, he would walk backwards, barefoot, in the snow to return it. Of course, he was just trying to make a point about honesty, but point made. I would never consider otherwise because of him and the lessons he wove throughout my life.

I remember as a young child, my dad making every Christmas very special. It was almost embarrassing to have someone see the presents piled high around our Christmas tree.

Christmas tree with presents

I don’t think that I figured it out until this year, but I realize now that he most likely, was trying to make up for his “lack of” in his young life and that he probably, was driven to be a success because of his hardships in his own childhood. Kind of like Scarlett in the last scene as she stands on her land (“Tara”) reciting that famous line from Gone With The Wind….

Tara

    “As God is my witness, I will never be hungry again.”

My dad was like a kid at Christmas time. He couldn’t even wait till Christmas day! We always had our Christmas on Christmas eve. As soon as it got dark he would reach behind his chair and tap on the wall and look up at the ceiling as if he heard Santa’s sleigh landing… we would look up, totally believing and then he would scurry us up the stairs telling us we better hurry cuz Santa would not come down the chimney till we were out of sight!

santa's sleigh

We would hear “ho ho ho” and big jingle bells ringing. Until finally my dad would call us as we would scramble down the stairs, always blinded by the movie camera bulbs as we found even more presents added to the pile and usually a big one like a bike or a “Santa present” and of course, our stockings were always stuffed to the brim.

Not only did he teach me how to receive but he also taught me how to give. He could make buying a present for my mom at the drugstore a special memory because it was all from just me! Funny, I never thought about it, but I pride myself on giving thoughtful presents. Listening and knowing what people like. I hate the White Elephant exchanges, because you are buying a random gift for a random person. Though I have to admit that I do like trying to bring the present that everyone fights over. Ahhh, a reflection on my dad again, I am sure.

When my dad died suddenly of a heart attack, I was twenty six, He left a lot of holes, though Christmas was probably the time I missed him the most. Not so much because of the thoughtful presents he would add day after day to the pile around our Christmas tree.

presents

but I missed his childlike joy. I had just had my son a couple of years before, and he loved having a child in the family again, to bring back the magic. Of course, he spoiled him from the beginning. The Christmas before he died, Santa had bought an electric jeep for his two year old little grandson!

I think that something came over me, the first year without him. I knew that everyone would feel the excruciating holes that he had left and I guess I felt that I had to carry on his tradition of giving. That year, it was as if my dad’s heart for giving possessed me. I tried to fill his shoes. Funny, not until writing this TODAY, dozens of years later, have I realized that. In the past, I have gone into debt trying to fill his shoes.

I think it is kind of hard, when you come from a place of comfort and find yourself struggling rather than the other way around. This year, the presents can’t be piled high. My husband lost his job and though the prospects look good for the possibility of a new company working out for him, it has been a challenge. And though we have learned to cut back, The bills are all the same from the lifestyle we had become accustomed to.

We have a friend who has suffered with ALS from as long as we have known him. He is in the process of deciding about getting a trache. It is a matter of $9000 per month to just breathe! I figure that I am $9000 a month ahead, just because I can breathe! I can’t even wrap my head around the presents under the trees that won’t be opened this year because of that horrific act carried out at that school. I KNOW I am blessed. We are just heading towards our nine year anniversary of the earthquake that wiped out our store. (Story in my blog) :

 https://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/category/earthquakes/

That year, I learned the lesson about how stuff is just stuff.

And yet, I have been asking myself…what is my problem this year? I mean, I don’t even want a Christmas Tree. Well, I miss my dad. I do every year. It never lessens. But it is something more, this year. I have sat through the Christmas story hundreds of times. And know that I have understood and been touched and yet, this year, I think I finally understand that it is so much more than stockings hung by the fire. It is all about The Greatest Gift Of ALL. A Baby that we seem to forget about as we stand in the long lines. But this year, I have realized that Christmas is so much more. It is not about receiving presents or even giving them, it is about the faith and joy we find when we really remember what Christmas is all about.
It is where we build our Tara.

Baby Jesus

So this year… has been an especially hard one for me but I am looking at things differently.

This song… kind of sums it all up…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmGSHZYZ74c

Closure


It was your choice.

Though,

maybe it was mine…

Stepping back

into

our consecutive worlds.

walking in the sand

The circle was broken

long ago.

broken glass

You pulled until

unraveling rope

I had to

stop it,

in fear it would unravel altogether,

my heart

that is…

heart unraveling2

Like stepping on the threads,

foot on cord

you yanked

and I was no longer there

No more tugging back

rope

I felt your anger

Or maybe your pain

when you stopped pulling.

You saved yourself.

sad guy under tree

Not caring for

“the crumbs”

crumbs

you felt were being

“thrown at you.”

And I wonder,

when you  stopped….

Was it  to save me?

Or was it to save you?

sad man silloette

Ahhhh! Still…

  the unanswered questions.

Like the ones that kept me hanging on

Wanting answers…

young girl running away from yelling boyfriend

Always wanting answers…

All over again…

are you sad,

angry?

ALIVE?

girl looking out window

All of these years…

ALWAYS,  so many QUESTIONS!!!!!!

And yet I have come to realize

Closure is a myth!!!!

couple hugging melancholy woman's face

Closure is just an excuse

to try to explain

the madness of it all

We need to save ourselves,

run with what little dignity we have left.

footprints looking back

You may feel that you chose me,

but you chose you.

Nothing has changed.

fighting through door

And so finally, after all of this TIME

Just maybe…

 I have finally learned how to choose

me.

girl running

Maybe there is such a thing as closure?

Yeah just like there really is a Santa Claus.

santa claus winking

By

Diane Reed

Ironing Boards Inside My Wall


 

orange crate shelves

Orange crates beneath some wood

Ironing boards inside a wall,

ironing board cupboard

Dancing on that empty floor

back then we thought we had it all~

 moving day hug

Defrosting the fridge with a hammer

defrosting with a hammer

Glass door knobs and yellow tile

yellow tile in kitchen 2

Wooden crates and mason bricks

mason shelves

Still somehow,  make me smile

Long before Pottery Barn or Thomasville

writing a check

Before credit cards statements each month…

There was a time when we lived on dreams

And somehow that was enough.

cute romantic couple dancing

Diane Reed

Happy Anniversary My Love


I am going on a little anniversary get away with my husband this week. We plan to  go find the boat we were married on and visit good friends. And then  go to my daughter’s first movie premier! She starred in  a little Indie that will be showing along with other Independent films at a Hollywood dinner theater and we are so excited to go and support her.  While all that is planned I have to fit in a “retail” buying trip for the place where I work.

Our trip is our gift to each other and yet I wanted to stop a minute and write a little something on our anniversary here. Excuse me, as I use my blog as a place to store my gift to him. He reads things here when I send them and so I will send this to him on December 4th… The last couple of years have been a little crazy and so the words may only be ones he understands but I thought I’d still share them as I know others here might relate.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

I have a lot of memories of times before we met

slowly they’ve been forgotten but some I can’t forget

sad girl

You have been so patient as I’ve  tried to let things go

to share things with you, you never should have known

tears

But I love the way you love me, the way you’ve still held on

I can’t say if it had been reversed, that I wouldn’t have been gone

arguing couple2

You are a better person for loving me the way you do

And I am so very blessed because honey… I love you!

01p055

So… NOW, I want my memories to be the ones that WE have made

and begin to make new ones so that you will be glad you stayed…

img073

Nineteen years ago on that day in December

YOU are the  only one that I want to remember!

img072

Happy Anniversary my love!

Seems Like Only Yesterday…


SON

 

Seems like only  yesterday I held you in my arms

Oh how you swept me away with all your baby charms.

The days just flew by quickly, soon you began to talk

and then a little later, you began to walk….

“Mommy will you cross me? I want to go and play.”

Oh those words ring sweetly, now seem like yesterday.

The years have swiftly passed,

don’t know where they’ve all gone,

And when you cross the street now,

 you don’t need to call your mom.

It has happened right in front of me, before my very eyes…

packed away, your faded jeans, one of every size…

Teddy bears and old match box cars,

all packed with loving care,

baseball cards and folded notes of secrets that you shared.

I sit amongst the boxes recalling our memories all alone

and realize that baby, once in my arms,

 is now fully grown~

And silently I wonder through a mixture of joy and tears…

Did I truly show how much I loved you

through  those tender years?

Sometimes it’s hard when you’re the mom

to make your child understand

just how VERY  proud she is when he becomes a man!

(My son and his beautiful family)

by

Diane Reed

copywrite 1997

Do Overs


If I could do it all again

would I make the same mistakes?

Would I bypass all the times

when I know my heart would break?

Would I still fall in love

with the father of my kids?

Would I do the dumb things

I remember that I did?

If I could go back,

and undo everything I’ve done…

Would I trade it all

to once again be young?

It is a tempting question,

to consider what I’d do,

to be able to wipe the slate clean,

To undo the things I wish I didn’t do…

And yet, I have to wonder

what the trade off would have to be

if I undid my life…

And could re-invent the one called “me

Even with all I now know…

and the lessons I have learned~

The “Do Over” I could have,

and the places I’d return,

I would still have to choose

all I know of in this life

If it meant being someone else’s mother

and someone else’s wife!

For all the ones that I have loved…

makes it worth it in the end~

To live the life with the ones I’ve loved

Yes~

I’d do it all again.

Hopefully with lessons learned

to make some slight revisions~

To gift me with the wisdom of today

In tomorrow’s new decisions.

Diane Reed

Letter to my nine year old self~


The funny thing about growing up is you can do it at five or at fifty five. And I have been discovering that I have been kind of stuck for a long time. And yet the mistakes I have made along the way are very clear to me now. I guess that is a good thing. I mean, what a waste to have gone through everything I have and not have learned something from it.
In May of this year,  Oprah had a section in her magazine where it featured women who wrote a letters to their younger self. I thought it was such an amazing idea that I just had to take a stab at it.
Jasmine… and me…. nine years ago! How time flies!
I actually wrote this in May on another blog and had  just  transferred it over here….  and begun to re-read it myself…
The cool thing is, that my ten year old granddaughter just walked in. She is staying with me for the weekend. She just called up out of the blue, asking me if I would like some company because she missed me…my husband is out of town dealing with his dad and so I had honkered down for a quiet weekend of uninterrupted writing…  (I know, I know, what do they say about the best laid plans?) Well, anywaaay, talking about making memories, I couldn’t say no. And now I am inserting this sentence because it is so cool. I just had the opportunity to read the letter below to my ten year old granddaughter. She also is a writer. I gave her an empy little journal and she has been filling it all weekend. And so I am in awe of the magic in the moment… see if you don’t agree… it was if I had written it for her.
Here is my letter to my young self:
Today you are so filled with expectation and dreams, your whole life is ahead of you. Your life is virtually an unwritten story waiting to be written. Some pages, you may want to tear out along the way, some you may want to hurry through, some will keep you stuck and some will be happy memories. Embrace them all. Don’t waste any of the lessons, learn from them and move on. Don’t beat yourself up for mistakes you cannot change.
You want to grow up so fast right now. You can’t wait to have a boyfriend, to drive, to be done with school. And then someday, to have babies and then you won’t be able to wait until those babies talk and walk and I just want to tell you to SLOW DOWN!!!! And be a KID!!!  Life will fly by fast enough without you helping it along. LIVE in TODAY.  Don’t worry about tomorrow.  These days will someday, become the “Good Old days” that you’ll look back on and you will regret not enjoying them as much as you could have. Always wanting the next step to happen too soon and not enjoying the moments that will only be sweet memories that you will wish you had enjoyed more.
Let things go. Don’t dwell on the things you cannot change. Don’t hold grudges. Things will happen in life that are just plain wrong. People will hurt and disappoint you. It is just going to happen. Nothing you can do, can stop that. But the way you handle those hurts and disappointments,”IS” totally in your control. Don’t waste your time in regret, just brush your shoes off and move on!
Finally, you are a dreamer, and a story teller. You are one of the lucky ones. You know what you want to be when you grow up. Don’t wait. Follow your dream. Fight for it. Educate yourself. Find out how to make it happen. Don’t wait for someone else to make it happen. You have to go out and make it happen yourself. Write that novel you have always wanted to write. Write as many as you can. Touch people with the stories in your head. Ask questions, learn lessons.  But don’t forget to be quiet. Don’t interrupt so much.  You can find your own voice when you need to. Take the time to take turns and really listen. There is power in listening. Sometimes if you talk too much, people just hear the words…. when you are quiet and listen, you can find the true hearts of people and then and only then, can you finish the story you first began.
Age is all about the lessons we learn, the doors we open, the stories we live and what we do with what has been entrusted to us.
“The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been”
Madeleine L ‘Engle
OH YEAH, and by the way. Don’t let your mom curl your bangs like she does! You look like a goof ball!

Chapter Two


For those of you following this… you know that Chapter One was found inside my last post …

“Like A POSTCARD or something like that….”  You really need to read Chapter One to follow… 

Chapter One… begins as (the adult version of)  Keri  finds a journal she kept long ago.

Chapter Two…. finds her back in her younger years, when she actually started that journal and was living the stories that she wrote about… slowly the chapters will carry you forward again to today, which is when she finally begins to understand the lesson in her journey  ~ hence; the title: Pieces of The Circle

(The pictures are NOT mine… I have no claim to any of them in this chapter, I just have fun choosing them to help you read… someday I will have to figure out the right picture for the cover…. ) but I am hoping that I can help paint a picture in your imagination… just with my words,  as I tell you my story… and hopefully,  in the end you won’t need pictures at all… Please keep in mind that this is still a very rough of parts of the book that I hope to someday start submitting as a whole…. I am sharing here for those of you who asked me to and also because I truly need some honest feedback. What parts are hard to follow? What words do I usee too much… etc…  I have come back here to edit at least fifty times so far… there is a technique my daughter told me about called the Dr. Suess Technique… you read it aloud to yourself as much as you can stand it and then read it aloud to others as much as they can stand it! Smile… Here, I have you… I know it is long… so those of you who are busy, I understand if you move on… but those of you who stay….

Thanks for reading! I love you!!!!

Here it is….

Chapter Two

Keri watched as her mom and little brother Lonnie, prepared to leave for the airport. It was the first, in all of their years after moving from Seattle to California, that she would not be joining them on their yearly summer trip. After all, she was sixteen. Too old for “family vacations” she had told her parents. Though, she had to admit, that her summers had been magical. When one would end, she would start counting the months until the next one. Ever since she could remember, she looked forward to every single one of them. Keri and her cousin, Annie, had spent all of their summers togethers at their Grandparent’s house near Lake Washington since she could remember. Memories filled her heart with the special adventures they had shared over the years. She smiled as she recalled how they would cook up schemes,  trying to come up with ways to stow Annie away in a suitcase so that Keri could bring her home with her to California. She smiled now just thinking about it. And she had to admit that it felt odd not to go this year.

But Annie had landed a babysitting job for the summer and so Keri had decided to stay home this year. After what seemed like endless conversations over the subject, her parents had finally consented. It was the summer before her senior year and her best friend Lori’s last summer home before she went away to school. Lori had gotten her license almost a year ago, and Keri had finally gotten hers a few months earlier, which represented a new kind of freedom for both the girls that they had never known before. Her father was very busy. He traveled and worked late hours and so she knew that for the most part, she would have the independence she longed for. Keri understood that she was to keep up the house while her mom was away and she appreciated that her dad had given her a reprieve of sorts by not requiring her to get a summer job. She knew that this was the last summer she had to just be a “kid” and  planned to make it the best one yet. Little, did she know…

Waving goodbye to her family as her dad pulled out of the driveway to take her mom and Lonnie to the airport, and then catch a plane himself. She threw kisses as she grabbed her beach gear and headed for Lori’s to pick her up. The sun felt good on her face as she climbed into her car. The breeze was almost nonexistent. It was a beautiful day and she knew it would be warm at the beach. She could see the ocean from her house in Palos Verdes and the blue sky sparkled invitingly as she slid into the driver’s seat of her new car as the sounds of the latest Top Forty filled the speakers her dad had just installed for her as she turned up the volume on her new stereo. She rolled down the windows, and smelled the scent of fresh cut grass. Feeling quite carefree and that all was well with her world she pushed open the sunroof and waved to her friend who was mowing the lawn next door as she drove by.

When Keri pulled up to Lori’s she noticed a boy who looked to be a little older than her, working on a sailboat on the long driveway that led to Lori’s house. As she passed him he took off his baseball hat and wiped his brow and nodded. She wondered who he was but decided that the day was a wasting and honked for her friend who stood on the balcony outside of her bedroom, motioning for her to come on up.

Keri sighed heavily as she jumped out of her car… Pointing to her watch-less wrist as if to say, “Let’s not waste the rays.” They were already leaving later than they had planned since Keri had waited to see her mom and Lonnie off. “Come on Lori, it’s almost one.” Keri whined in a playfully sardonic tone as the she walked through the door, only to be met with a glass of lemonade and a smile from Lori’s mom “Hey Mrs. T” Keri said accepting the drink and hugging her tight,

“I can never say no to your terrific lemonade.” And then turned as she heard Lori call out “I’ll be right down.”                             “So where are you girls off to today?” Mrs. T asked cheerfully… “Avenue F in Redondo” Keri confirmed. She and Lori had dubbed the spot right outside of the life guard’s station ever since they noticed Brad, the cute new lifeguard that they had met during spring break and had gotten to know even better, during the weekends that followed. They had a little flirtation going on as he would joke about turning down their AM radio, insinuating KRLA and KHJ were passé and the FM stations he listened to were going to be the new place to tune in to. They had a volume war and finally Brad had used his megaphone and the girls had laughingly conceded.

As Mrs. T probed curiously, Keri got lost in  her day dreams as she thought of Brad who was tan with sparkling brown eyes. He was a couple of years older, and very funny. He loved to joke with the girls and they bonded with him right away, and then with several of his lifeguard friends in the area. Brad’s friends had easily become their friends and they all had begun playing what they called:”Sunset volleyball” once the beach had cleared and everyone was off duty. Brad had mentioned the bonfires during Spring Break, and after a day of teasing and sharing cookies they had brought for him, he had invited them back that night to play. They had excitedly gone home to shower and change and then ran back with a six pack of sodas, a package of hotdogs and some of those home baked cookies as their contribution.

When they arrived they found half the guys playing a warm up game near a bonfire that the other half was just starting. There was a big tub of ice filled with beer that they added their sodas to, as they were greeted and quickly integrated into the game at hand, evening out the teams. Not until the sun had finally dipped beneath the horizon did they stop playing.

Keri and Lori dropped to the blanket they had laid out laughing. “That was so fun!” Keri said rubbing her wrists. Lori nodded in agreement. “You guys aren’t bad for girls.” Brad had said and Keri gave Lori a high five, stating, “For girls you say?” Just you wait, we will give you a run for your money when we’ve played more.” Volleyball, bonfires and Avenue F seemed to fill their weekends after that.

“Sounds like fun,” Mrs. T laughed at Keri, realizing that she was far, far away in her thoughts. Keri took another sip as she snapped out of it and absently asked “who’s the guy in the boat?” Mrs. T cleared her throat and said “Oh that’s Jack.” Keri swallowed asking “Jack?” “Yes, Maddie’s old boyfriend.” Keri was curious, “Old Boyfriend?” she queried. “Yes old.” Mrs. T Sighed, “you see Maddie got herself engaged and is bringing home her Fiancé to meet us.”  Maddie was Lori’s older sister by two years. Mrs. T continued, “she has given us a month to break the news to him and get him moved out. Keri was puzzled. She had just spent the night with Lori a few weeks ago. “He lives here?” She asked. “No, but we let him bring his boat here to work on. And he’s been working on it daily.”  Mrs. T replied. Keri was even more confused. Why would someone get engaged if they already had a boyfriend she wondered. But was distracted by Lori clamoring down the stairs, as she kissed her mom and hurriedly began pulling Keri out the door.

Keri noticed Lori’s turquoise swim suit under her clothes and laughed stating, “I almost wore that same suit!” They had gone swimsuit shopping the weekend before at Rosie’s on Pacific Coast Hwy,  a store that always seemed to have the best bikinis, and had both bought some new ones but couldn’t decide on the ones they both liked so had ended up with a few of the same suits. “Lori noticed the pale pink one beneath Keri’s halter top and smiled, saying “I guess we should check with each other because I almost wore the pink one!” Mrs. T laughed. “Oh to be young again, she reflected, so carefree, if I only had to worry about what color my swimsuit was for the day.” Lori rolled her eyes as Keri happily followed her to the car, thanking Mrs. T for the lemonade, she gave her a quick hug. As Lori’s mom waved the girls on telling them to have a good time, closing the screen door she went back inside.

Keri loved everything about Mrs.T. and her quiet, but involved presence in Lori’s life. Always just far enough away to not be in the way, but close enough to show she cared. From the time she and Lori started hanging out, Keri always felt welcome and during the weekends, the girls always were either at one house or the other. Lori was going to UCLA that fall and Keri didn’t want to think about school the next year without her. It made her sad. But she forced herself to just think about the day ahead and decided that today was all that mattered.

Keri buckled her seatbelt and slipped a Chicago 8 track into her player. With the sun shining down through the sun roof, the girls put on sunglass and Keri cranked up the volume and smiled, rolling down the windows, they began singing loudly, rocking to the beat laughing. They hadn’t been to the beach for several weeks due to having to study for finals and all of Lori’s graduation responsibilities so they had both looked forward to today.

The girls sang loudly as they drove down the long driveway, bouncing in their seats. The boy in the boat caught her eye and grinned at them as they drove by.  Keri couldn’t help but feel a little compassion for him. Wondering what the story was… She asked Lori. “Why is he hanging out here if Maddie and he are broken up?” Lori sighed in a way that reminded her of Mrs. T’s sigh and it made Keri smile. “Good old Maddie and my poor mom, she seems to always be trying to fix things but I’m not sure how she is going to manage this one.” Keri asked “Why, because she has a new fiancé?” Lori grimaced yeah. I kind of feel sorry for him. I think that he thought that they would get back together like before.” Keri asked “Like before?” Lori nodded. “yeah they broke up a lot, and would always get back together. This time though, it’s over for sure she already has a new guy and a ring and a date.” “Oh that sucks for him.” Keri said. Lori nodded. Keri couldn’t help but take another glance in the rearview mirror as they drove out of sight.

Brad waved to Keri and Lori as soon as he saw them coming down the ramp. He jumped out of his chair and hopped from the tower. He was still as cute and tan as ever, in his red suit and hugged them tight. A few of their friends were already playing volleyball nearby and waved. Even when the guys were off duty, they seemed to hang out at Avenue F. The girls managed to find a spot, dropping their bags and slipping off their cover-ups, they joined the game. They looked like models in a commercial for suntan lotion, out there in the sand, Brad thought as he watched them from above.

The girls took turns taking showers at Keri’s house after the beach. Her dad was out of town on business for a few days and they planned to go out dancing and then come back to spend the night. “Oh I can’t believe it”, Lori groaned as she walked in Keri’s room drying her waist length hair with a damp towel, “I forgot my new shoes and my overnight bag.” Keri was sitting on the floor putting on the last touches of her make up in front of her floor length  antique mirror as she replied, “That’s fine we’ll just swing by your place and pick them up.”

They had just started discussing where they would go for dinner as they approached her house. Pulling up, Keri glanced at the covered boat still in their driveway, thinking Jack must have gone home for the day. “I’ll just run in and be back in two….” Lori started to say when the door opened and Mrs. T came out waving them in. “You two are just in time for my famous lasagna she gushed. Keri and Lori looked at each other, both loving Mrs. T’s lasagna and without protest, jumped out of the car. “Why not?” they both said in unison and laughed.

Lori ran up to her room to grab her shoes and pack a bag as Keri followed Mrs. T into the great room while waves of warm garlic bread wafted through the room straight to her nose. “Oh my gosh it smells like heaven in here!” She exclaimed as she sauntered into the room with the farm like table filled with the Taber family and Jack.  Mrs. T. immediately introduced Keri stating “Keri this is Jack Sagan.” Keri warmly held out her hand, from the moment she had heard his story, she had felt a twinge of compassion that she could not shake.

And as he took her hand in his firmly shaking it, he looked her in the eye with a confident smile that impressed her. Hmmm she wondered if it was impressed or intrigued. But without knowing exactly what it was, something in the stars seemed to shift.

The aroma of garlic and the chatter of everyone filled the room as dinner was served. Jack was friendly and animated and talked about being ready to launch his boat. Mrs. T seemed pleased knowing that launching it, meant that it would be moved and it was one more thing she could cross off of the check list that her older daughter had given to her. The boat being gone would be a huge load off of her to do list, out of all the things that Maddie had requested be done, before her arrival.

“I have a great idea.” Mrs. T cooed nonchalantly, “Why don’t you all go?” Lori didn’t miss a beat and piped up “Not me. I get seasick!” “Count me in!” announced Lori’s younger brother Matt, who was a year younger than Keri and had been helping Jack work on the boat for the last several weeks. He was eager to try out the vessel on the water. “Can I bring Sarah?” he asked hopefully. Sarah and Matt had been inseparable for the last year when Matt had not been hanging out with Jack. “Sure.” Jack agreed good naturedly. Keri was laughing at something with Lori when she noticed just out of the side of her eyes, Mrs. T mouthing a silent message of encouragement to Jack as he turned to look at her and offered. “How about it?”

Lori glared at her mom, looking annoyed, and realized that she and Jack had most likely discussed these plans earlier in the day and that this dinner was a little more contrived than she had made it all look. Mrs. T seemed to miss or ignore her younger daughter’s reaction. Keri, on the other hand, had not missed the look, and searched Lori’s face for a clue as if asking her what to do.  Lori just shrugged and so Keri turned back to Jack, not wanting to hurt his feelings, especially after knowing the disappointment that soon awaited him, she hesitantly answered “Sure, why not?  I’d love to.” Before they left, Keri reached for Jack’s hand and wrote her number on his palm and smiled.  He looked down at his hand and smiled back.

And that is how the story of Jack and Keri began. Innocently enough, and yet very conveniently for Mrs.T who mentally crossed yet another thing off of her list.

Pieces of A Circle is a book that I am writing about a young girl who got caught up in an abusive relationship that changed her life forever. Not so much because of any of the physical abuse, even though there was some. This is a story that touches more on the emotional and mental abuse that changed the choices she made in her life, and the woman she became because of it all.

It is about the anger she carried with her and a lot about  the life she missed because of it. And then the twist at the end about forgivness and understanding and yet the crazy way she almost found herself lost again trying to find the young girl she had left behind so long ago.